Three prayers for my church this year

I’m not really much of one for making New Year’s resolutions. I’ll be honest, I think if a resolution is worth making, it is worth making now!

But I do think resolutions are biblical and godly. If we are to live the holy lives to which we are called, we have to resolve to be holy. That is the thrust, I think, of Hebrews 12:14. If we are to walk in the good works that have been prepared for us to walk in, we have to resolve to do good works. That is the thrust, I think, of Galatian 6:9 (among many others). In fact, whatever command of scripture you care to land on, we have to resolve to do it if we are ever going to do it! Resolutions, it strikes me, are biblical.

But instead of sharing some New Year’s resolutions, I thought I would share my prayers for my church this year. Here are three things I hope and pray will happen in and through Oldham Bethel Church this year.

God will be glorified

Whatever else may happen, whatever we may achieve or not so far as we reckon achievement, my number one prayer for Oldham Bethel Church is that God will be glorified in us. That might mean growing us numerically or bringing about a reduction in our numbers. It might mean apparently successful evangelistic opportunities or seemingly unimpressive ones. However the Lord chooses to do it, my prayer is that the Lord would glorify himself through us.

Oldham would know Christ

Our town is full of people who do not know their right hand from their left. It is full of people from all over the world but who have never heard the gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. Many have never heard it at all. My prayer this year is that the Lord would bring the people of Oldham to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He may choose to do that through Oldham Bethel Church or by some other means. I am less concerned with how he accomplishes it – that is the Lord’s lookout – but I am praying that he will accomplish it. I long to see a big turning of people from darkness to light in Oldham. I want to see my Pakistani Muslim neighbours, my asylum seeking Sudanese, Iranian and Afghan friends, my indigenous white British friends all coming to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. If he is pleased to use us to achieve that, all’s the better for us! But that they come to know Christ is what I pray for 2022.

For growth in Christ

I pray that my church would grow. Not numerically particularly, though I’m more than happy if the Lord chooses to do that. But qualitatively. I want our people to grow up in maturity. I want those who profess Christ to increasingly look and act like Christ. I want them to enjoy God more fully this year than they did last year. I want our people to experience a deepening relationship with Jesus.

Again, I am not too worried about exactly how the Lord brings that about. He may do that through some of my preaching and teaching to encourage me. But he might well do that through the ministry of our gospel worker. He might equally do it through the ongoing ministry of our unpaid members without office. He might do it through people and resources entirely external to our local church. More likely, he will use some combination of all these things. However the Lord does it – and again, I’m not too worried about the how – I pray that he will do it. Not just in the church in general, but in each individual (including me). I pray he would make us more like Jesus and he would cause his church to grow together in love and good works.