I was walking toward our Midweek prayer meeting (Wednesdays at 10:00–11:00 a.m. in Guest Central—you are all invited!) this past week when I heard Virginia Lykins playing a familiar song on the piano. The song has a somber, somewhat haunting yet invigorating tune—one you don’t forget. It’s a dated sound but one that doesn’t age. I began to softly sing (the last time they asked me to sing in church, it was “The Old Rugged Cross”) the words of the song. I didn’t get them all right. I mixed up some of the lyrics. But by the time I made it to Guest Central, I was ready and moved to pray.
I’ll help you out and give you the words to the verses (the chorus you know).
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
“I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
While God is marching on.”
While there is much that could be said about that song, let me point out two truths.
First, “His truth,” “His day,” and “God” are “marching on.” Yes, people, culture, politicians, and much of our media oppose Him. However, that really doesn’t matter. Like a colossal asphalt roller, God has rolled, is rolling, and will continue to roll over anyone and anything that does not submit to Him. “…every knee will bow,…and…every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10–11).
Second, while His truth moves on, there is a cost. “He died to make men holy.” We understand that. But there is more to the story. We “live to make men free.” Setting men and women free from slavery cost people their lives in 1861–1865. Setting men and women free from the slavery of sin today costs our lives too.
A few days ago, we commemorated Memorial Day. We are free because men and women paid the ultimate cost. Today, will you pay the cost? Will you pray for 30 minutes (and as God leads, fast from a meal)?
People will never know the names of all the men and women who paid the ultimate cost for them during the wars our nation has fought. People will never know the names of those who prayed or those who didn’t. But God knows. And as much as we honor those who paid the price, God will also one day honor and reward those who prayed the price.
Pray that God’s people will be devoted to prayer.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:
Pray that God’s people will see the power of multiplied prayer.
“Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.” Leviticus 26:8
Pray that God’s people will pray with confidence.
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19
Pastor, Evangelism, Discipleship, and Prayer
Pray that God's people will cry out to Him
In Psalm 107, David gives four descriptions of God rescuing His people from various times of calamities, distresses, and troubles:
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses. He led them also by a straight way, to go to an inhabited city.” Psalm 107:6–7
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke their bands apart.”
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Psalm 107:19–20
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.” Psalm 107:28–29
The common denominator in these verses about God moving is God’s people crying out to Him. The Hebrew word za`aq means to cry out, weep aloud, howl, or wail. It is an intense word. God does business with those who mean business.
- Pray that God’s people will spend time privately with Him, crying out to Him for help and wisdom.
- Pray that God’s people will join together in small groups to seek Him as our only hope.
- Pray that God’s people will pray like Jesus, who “offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).
Pray for unity among churches
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20–21
- Pray that the unity of our churches will demonstrate the love of Jesus to an unbelieving world.
- Pray that Jesus will be the focal point of our churches, the One around whom we center every service, program, and event.
- Pray that God shows us ways to work together to meet the spiritual, physical, vocational, educational, and financial needs of Memphis.
- Pray that God will open our eyes to the next steps of creating unity among Christians in Memphis.
Pray for a restoration of hope and joy in Christians and churches
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Life is difficult! We live in a nation where politics divide, the economy is uncertain, and violence is on the rise, and Christians and churches are not immune to these pressures. But God longs to, “restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25ESV).
- Pray that Christians and churches who are living under a “spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3NKJV) will instead be filled with “all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13).
- Pray that Christians and churches will break free from satanic strongholds that bind them—especially spirits of fear and discouragement.
- Pray that Christians and churches will exhibit such Spirit-filled lives and worship that the world will know Jesus is alive.
Pray for Memphis
Rather than simply reading the words of Bro. Steve’s “Prayer for Memphis,” please take time to verbally pray for our city, using this prayer as a guide.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Memphis. Thank You for strategically locating our city in the middle of thisnation so we can be a catalyst for revival and spiritual awakening. Please pour out Your Spirit on Memphis,Shelby County, the Mid-South, and beyond. Help every Christian and every Bible-believing, Jesus-loving,Gospel-preaching church to love God, love people, share Jesus, and make disciples. Demolish everydemonic stronghold of pride, violence, racism, poverty, crime, sexual immorality, drug abuse, sickness,religious formalism, fanaticism, legalism, liberalism, and traditionalism. Replace those with love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, blessing, mercy, grace, hope, healing,liberty, and freedom. Destroy the stronghold of religion in Memphis that has a form of godliness but denies thepower thereof. Give us churches that believe in the Bible and preach salvation only in Jesus Christ. Let YourKingdom come and Your will be done in Memphis on Earth as it is in Heaven. Bring pastors, lay leaders, andcongregations together as we pray for this city. Bless our governmental leaders, schools, and economy. Please send good jobs to Memphis. Keep casinos, strip clubs, and occult activity out of Memphis. Do a work of revivalin Memphis that can only be explained by Your presence and power, and do it all for Your glory. Call Your peopleto fervent, united, visible, extraordinary prayer. May the latter glory of Your Kingdom in Memphis be greater thanthe former, and please grant Memphis Your peace. Do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that we canask or think. In Jesus’ name, amen!