So I am still getting used to writing “2016!” Right now, my date writing too often looks like “January 4, 201
5, 2016.” Its ok, I’ll get it right one of these days, its just one example of how we need to get oriented to a new year.
As we consider all the ways that we need to orient ourselves for 2016, our spiritual orientation in our life with the Lord Jesus Christ is often one area that gets overlooked, yet according to Matthew 6:33 it really should be the first that we do.
At Ephrata Community Church we’ve set aside their first three weeks of 2016 as a season of prayer and fasting as a way to properly align ourselves with God and his plan for 2016. During week one, we focused on Psalm 139:23-24 as we asked the Lord to do his work in us and that deep and personal work continues as we move into week two of our season of prayer and fasting.
As we’ve asked God to do his work in us personal during week one, we’ll now move our focus to asking God to do his work in us as a congregation during week two.
In much the same way as we have invited God to work in us personally during week one, let’s now invite him to work in us as a congregation during week two. Let’s be clear about who “owns” Ephrata Community – our Lord Jesus does. We are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20), and we exist for his purposes and for his glory. We begin our prayers for Ephrata Community Church by acknowledging that. From that foundation, let’s pray and agree together that God’s will would be done in the following areas:
- May Ephrata Community Church be a people of authentic worship; may we reflect the desire of our Father who seeks for those who worship in Spirit and in Truth. May God give us new ways to express our worship using all the arts and all that we are to give him glory. John 4:23-24.
- May Ephrata Community Church be a people of prayer, expressing our humility before the Lord, and our dependence on the Lord; reflecting his desire that His house is to be a house of prayer. Matthew 21:13, Isaiah 56:7
- May Ephrata Community Church express the heart of Moses in Exodus 33 and refuse to settle for anything less than the manifest presence of God, knowing that it is His presence that distinguishes His people from all other people on earth. Exodus 33:15-17.
- May Ephrata Community Church be a people whose lives are transformed by the renewing of our minds. May all of us be living, breathing testimonies of the transforming power of God, so that our light might shine before men, giving praise to our Father in heaven. Just like the believers at Antioch, may we so reflect our Savior that we are labeled with him. Romans 12:2.
- May Ephrata Community Church have lots of children as we reflect the heart of Jesus who said, “Let the little children come for such is the Kingdom of heaven.” May we receive children and may we be a people that encourage and equip future generations for all that God has for them. Matthew 19:13-15.
- May Ephrata Community Church be a place where youth find purpose and direction, a life worth living for the glory of God. Ecclesiastes 12:1.
- May Ephrata Community Church be a people where all generations grow together, work together, and advance the Kingdom together. Psalm 148:12-13, Joel 2:28-29.
- In Matthew 9 Jesus expresses a shortage of harvesters for a plentiful harvest. Jesus, we respond by saying; “Here we are, send us!” Ephrata Community Church will be your witness in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the remotest parts of the earth.” Jesus was accused of being the “friend of sinners,” and we willingly receive the same label. May this be a place where sinners find hope, restoration, redemption, and a new life in Jesus Christ. Matthew 9:37-38, Luke 15:1-2.
- May Ephrata Community Church be a people of generosity, knowing that we, as a congregation, do not exist for simply our own benefit, but also for the benefit of others. Freely we have received, freely we will give, wherever we can, however we can. Matthew 10:8.
- The reality of our relationship with Jesus Christ is lived out in relationship with others. May Ephrata Community Church be a people of authentic community. Psalm 68:4-6.
- We acknowledge the Body of Christ is large and diverse, and we choose to honor all expressions of the church of Jesus Christ while living out our specific role in the Body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14.
- May Ephrata Community Church be a place where our Lord Jesus Christ receives all the honor and glory that is due His Name. Ephesians 3:20-21.