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Prayers God Loves to Answer: Praying for the Church (pt. 4)

Holding to the truth

Today is a day of confusion regarding truth, and that confusion has invaded the church.  Confusion reigns where the church fails to hold firmly on to the Word of God.

 

The letter to the church at Pergamum starts this way:  "These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword." (Revelation 2:12)  This double-edged sword is the word of God, which comes out of Jesus' mouth (Revelation 1:16; see Hebrews 4:12).  Both the church at Pergamum and the church at Thyatira were guilty of turning away from this word and embracing false teaching (Revelation 2:14-15, 20, 24).  In both cases, as we saw previously, straying from God's word led to idolatry and sexual immorality.

 

Doctrine matters.  When we stray, for example, from the simple truths in Genesis about creation and God's creation of human beings as male and female, we lose our grip on understanding of gender.  Does this sound familiar?  When we blindly accept the "proven" science of evolution and long geologic ages, rejecting the Biblical stories of Creation and the Flood, we lose our grip on God's righteous judgment (and possibly even on his right to judge).  When we stray away from an insistence on God's Word as objective truth, we fall prey to relativism and lose the basis for evangelism.

 

Later, Jesus would write to the church at Philadelphia, "I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."  (Revelation 3:7)  Strength is great - but holding to the word of truth and not denying the name of Jesus is more important in our Savior's eyes.

 

How do we pray for our churches and for our pastors in light of the importance of holding to the truth of God's Word?  Here are a few thought starters - I'm sure you can think of more.

  • Pray for our Pastors.  For God to bring conviction of the truth of His Word and to sweep away any uncertainty, confusion, or syncretism (compromise with non-Biblical teachings) that our pastors may have bought into.
  • Pray for sound teaching.  Multiple times, Paul instructed Timothy and Titus to hold to sound teaching and to pass that teaching on to others.  Pray for soundly Scriptural teaching that emphasizes God's power and grace over self-help and human-centric answers.
  • Pray for our churches' practice of God's word.  Holding to the truth of the Word is more than just belief - it's transformation of life.  Pray that God will cause his Word to bear fruit in the lives of our congregations, transforming us in ways that the world can see and that will draw non-believers to Him.
  • Pray for intellectual engagement.  Ask God to keep us from "checking our brains at the door" when we come into church.  Pray that he will challenge believers to know what they believe and why, so that they will hold to the truths of His Word with conviction.
  • Pray for cleansing.  Ask God to shine light on places of darkness in our churches - places where we have compromised with the teachings and practices of the world.  Pray for a spirit of repentance for these areas and that God will bring cleansing and revival.  Ask for God's power to fully put off the old and put on the new.

 

We'll look in more depth at Paul's prayers for the churches a little later.  Those prayers are all grounded in the truth of God's Word.  In a society where confusion and outright falsehood often hold sway, firmly holding to the truth will distinguish the church as little else can.

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