Praise and Thanksgiving

Yes, Lord, you are mighty! You have done this great thing. Christ enfleshed to conquer death, to shatter the darkness, lift our shame. Liberated, we are now commissioned to this joyful work, to proclaim this good news to the world.

You, Father, sent Christ into the world as a child. And you sent the Spirit to gather a people. And as that Church began to gather, your Son commissioned his Bride, the Church into a global mission authorized by the King of Kings himself. And here we are. On a mission stretching all the way back through centuries of Christian mission, back to the Great Commission, back to Bethlehem, and back into your eternal counsel from before time began. One long procession from the throne room to heaven, from where you are, reaching down to us, to where we are. A long line of the same mission.

Global Topics

This morning we pray for the global Church facing the most extreme persecution in North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, India, and Syria. We pray for millions of believers who feel the immediate pressures of Atheism, Islam, and Nationalism. May these believers shine brightly in the darkness of their surroundings.

We lift up the 97 million professing Christians in China, where the situation is deteriorating fast, and persecution is increasing. The government attempts to keep anyone under 18 out of churches. Use the school system to poison minds and prejudice children against the Church. Thwart this vanity. Show again the futility of institutional persecution.

In sum, 140 million Christians in Asia under pressure, feeling crushed by militant atheism, radical Islamic ideology, and intensifying nationalism — all growing more intense at the same time in Asia. Oh Lord, we pray, protect these believers from caving into the powers of this age.

Do amazing things. Take blood-thirsty anti-Christian terrorists and redeem them again, like you did with the Apostle Paul. And amaze us at your work globally, as we praise you for the growth of the church in Latin America, in Africa, and in Asia. Continue to send workers so this momentum continues.

National Topics

Build our faith for whatever persecution you may have in store for us in America, subtler persecution perhaps. But rivet our trust in you. We know that “some trust in chariots and some in horses,” some trust in technologies of power, “but we will trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Ps 20:7). We do not “trust in money,” which is unstable. We trust in you, who richly provides for all our needs (1 Tim. 6:17). Help us first seek your kingdom and let all the needs we have in this life be added to us as a second thought. Make our testimony clear to the world. Nationalism is not our hope. The upward trends of the Dow is not our god. And no political party on earth can save us. Make our the words of our mouth and the passions of our heart align with these convictions.

Local Topics

Here at home, in our second decade, we pray that you would use Grace Church in ways we cannot imagine now. Bring non-Christians through our doors. Grow this body. Show off your saving power in this place, in the next decade, in ways our minds cannot even imagine right now. Give us new missions opportunities in Phoenix as we continue to pray for Jayme Miller, who prepares for overseas missionary training. Place her by knitting her heart to a team and a to a place and to a people. And until then, continue to build our faith for mission as we watch her take big risks for the gospel.

Fellowship Topics

Use all of us locally.

Give the precious children in this church words to proclaim your glory.

Use the teens of this church to do what almost no teens do, to boldly celebrate Christ with their peers and friends at school.

Give us words to celebrate you with friends and family and neighbors and online communities.

Give us all a spirit of boldness to offset the resistance we all feel, the gravitational pull downward to stay mute and to say nothing about Christ.

You are on mission to redeem a people to delight in you for all of eternity. That’s the great headline today, the headline most fitting on every newspaper masthead. All the other political drama from this past week is a secondary plot behind this the true story unfolding on this planet right now. It’s why the universe exists, that sinners would come to know and love and treasure you above all things. This is your mission. Use us. Pull us into that mission. And give us grace for it.

You have done this great thing. Christ enfleshed to conquer death, to shatter the darkness, now on mission to proclaim the good news of Christ to the whole world. Be with us as we make this our aim.

In Jesus name we pray, amen!

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