2018 Prayer: The Local Church Life

From 20 – 23 December 2018 we held a time of prayer and fasting in Bloemfontein. In the final session we felt to pray more specifically into the church life in each locality. Although we had prayed for the church in South Africa as a whole in the previous session, we sought to pray for the local expression of the church in South Africa and in the cities we live.

Before we started to pray we had a time where those from each city could share with us what has been happening in their locality and what they specifically need prayer for. This time also yielded some insights into what the Lord has been doing with those of us who He has been calling out of religion to meet and worship in simpler, more relational ways.

You can download and listen to this time of fellowship here:

Fellowship about the Local Church Life

Praying for the local church life

We started by thanking God for His church. We acknowledged that He has purchased her with his precious blood and that He is the builder of the church. We asked God to forgive us for building according to our own understanding rather than letting Him build in us and with gold, silver, and precious stone, rather than wood hay or stubble.  We petitioned God to be head over us and to build us together with one another.

We also told the Lord that we desire for there to be oneness in His Body. Oneness with all believers rather than what we see today with so much division. We acknowledged that we want to be those who pursue oneness in the Body rather than perpetuating division. We asked God to teach us how to live this out practically in our localities.

Something that we realised again and acknowledged before God is that Jesus Christ is the only foundation of the church. And that if there are areas in South Africa which need that foundation to be laid, we asked God to raise up workers that will be able to lay it so that the building work in those areas can commence. So that there can be a visible dwelling place, a practical church life in each area in South Africa.

In terms of our day to day living in the church, we asked God to help us be mindful that He is the architect and that the church is built living stone by living stone. That He would help us realise and accept where He has placed us so that we will be committed to grow there and serve by His love so that His Kingdom may come there. That we would not seek to be removed or moved to another position. But that He will bind us with those He has placed us with. And that by being committed and consistent in the place He has placed us, we will see the walls being shaped and the building being formed.

In terms of the attitudes of our hearts, we asked the Lord to enable us to help us be like the believers in the early church who devoted themselves to this calling on their lives. Those who are consumed with the Lord and His reward. Completely committed and utterly dedicated to seeing His Bride made ready. That we will lay down our lives for each other and for this cause. That we will not shrink back because of the high cost involved. But that we will give it all.

A prayer that really signifies our hearts before the Lord during this time:

We pray that you will really have your way in us. That you will really take us on. That you will really make us to grow up in you, to mature in you. So that we can be this expression and representation of you on this earth. Lord raise up people who will be burdened for your church. Who will give themselves for the church. Who will live and breathe for the church. This is what is in your heart. You even gave yourself up for her. You died for her. This is your inheritance. Your church. Just work this desire in us. Just work this in us. That we will be one with you. One with you in your desire. That we will co-work with you and cooperate with you.

There is a lot that is happening in your church. Both good and bad. But we pray oh God, that you would revive your church. We pray that you would strengthen us. We pray that you will work endurance into us. That you will work diligence into us. Thank you that you do not give up on us. Even if we fall, even if we get discouraged, you always draw us. By your love you always constrain us. We pray that you would constrain us, until we live wholly and completely for you. Because there is nothing on this earth worth living for accept you.

The Kingdom Come

Although we prayed extensively into the reality of the Kingdom in the second session of prayer, there were some prayers during this session which sought the Kingdom to be established further in the local church life in each city.

A key principle we asked the Lord for was that His governance would come over us again. Just as we see in the early church. So that there can be a clear distinction between the world and the church.

We also asked God’s governance to come upon the church. We realised that a shaking is coming and that judgement starts in the household of God. We asked Him to come and sanctify us on a local level. To expose those things that are not from Him and remove them from us. To deliver us from all those things that entangle and ensnare us in our daily lives and church life. We asked for true freedom to come amongst us.

For where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. We ask that we will not be entangled again by a yoke of slavery. For Christ has paid the full price for our freedom. That your church will be a church that is free Lord. Free to love you purely Lord. With a pure heart. We ask for that freedom and liberty to come again. That you will be our only vision. And our only hope.

Maturity

A significant theme that kept coming up was that of growing up to maturity. It seems that the Lord is quite serious about seeing His Body grow up.

We acknowledged that it is not easy to grow up, and so we asked the Lord to come and help us become mature. In our relationship with Him and with one another. That He would enable us to put away childish things and especially to deal with and refuse offense, the bait of Satan. We asked God to train us to grow up into wearing the all-purpose garment of the love of Christ.

A key sign of maturity is discernment and obedience. We asked the Lord to teach us to hear His Spirit and obey. To reveal to us what He wants and help us enter into it. To receive His instructions as good for our souls. So that we can be faithful where He has placed us. So that we can embrace what He has placed before us and not turn away saying, “this is too difficult.” Not children running around doing our own thing, but mature sons being about our Father’s business.

We acknowledged again that God is our sovereign Father who is in complete control. We asked Him to help us to believe this and walk in complete trust when He gives us a command. That we immediately answer, “Yes Lord!” Without even thinking twice. That we really trust Him as He guides us step by step in this time ahead.  

The Deeper Life Network

We have come to see that the Lord wants to connect those around South Africa who have a desire to go deeper with Him and who He is calling out to build together. This is why we have set up the Deeper Life Network website and social media pages in order to help connect those around South Africa that the Lord is speaking to in this way. This time of prayer was the network’s first national event and saw people from Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria coming together to seek the Lord.

We thus saw many prayers that related to us as a group of people that are beginning to walk together.

We prayed for the believers in each city represented. That the Lord would enable us to pursue Him together. That even though we are so few He will take us all to maturity. That God will show us how He wants to go about things. What He wants to do and how He wants to do it.

We expressed to the Lord that we do not want to initiate anything based on what we read in the bible.

Lord we do not want to operate based on the letter. Lord we want to be moved by you. We want to be led by you. We want to be guided by you. We want to hear your voice. Lord, give us ears to hear what you are saying to the church. Lord we want to follow you wherever you go.

We also asked the Lord that He would recover amongst us the practices that the early church had. That we would continue steadfastly in the doctrines of the apostles, in fellowship, in breaking bread, in prayer, in shared-life community, and in pursuing Him with everything. We petitioned God that if He could do it in the early church that He can also do it in us. That He would gain this kind of life in us. A watchful, alert, engaged, and devoted church life. We exclaimed that we do not want to have three lives. A family life, school or work life, and a church life. But we want our lives to be one. One in Christ in the Church.

We thanked the Lord that there was unity amongst us who were gathered together to pray. We asked God to lift up each person and empower them.

We acknowledged that God has planted a vision in our wombs. That He has planted a seed in us. We asked Him to empower us to give birth to that which He has placed in us. That we will walk where He has placed us and give life to that which He has placed in us. That He would bring it into reality and help us fan it into flame.

We also asked the Lord to manifest His fruit and His power amongst us. So we can be the people who He has called us to be.

That He would give us words of wisdom, words of knowledge, and words of prophecy. The ability to lay our hands on the sick and see them recover. We asked these gifts to be fanned into flame amongst us. For the maturing of His Body. So that we can grow up in Christ.

We asked His Spirit to be poured out upon us so that we will be able to move forward with God’s mandate. That which has come down from heaven and which has been revealed to us. That we will run with the vision. That we will not sit, but run.

We believe that there is a release in the Spirit. Thank you for the release. There is an unlocking in the heavens. You have given us the keys. We are the representatives of Christ in the earth. And we unlock the vision now.

The Journey to the Promised Land

In addition to praying for those who have come to the building site to build, we also prayed for those who are still on the journey.

We prayed for those who are being drawn out of the systems of religion, denominations, and “churchianity”. We asked the Lord to provide support for them. That they will not just go into the world. But that they will be drawn into a deeper intimacy with the Lord. That they will have divine encounters with others that are on the same journey as them.

We also asked that the small pockets of people that are fellowshipping around South Africa will be made visible. That there will be a unification of those that are pursuing the Lord in purity, passion, and simplicity.

We also prayed for those who have become stationary along the way, and those who are waiting on God for the next step. We got the sense that there are many people around South Africa that are in this place. People that have not attached their hearts to the spirit of religion. People that God is calling into a deeper intimacy, a simpler church life, and a greater level of relational and spiritual effectiveness.

Lord we ask that you will begin to proclaim and call forth these brothers and sisters towards the promised land. To the place of building. To the place where you want to build your house and establish your name. Will you trumpet forth in South Africa this reality of what you are doing.

We recognize that you are moving. And we want to ask that no one will be left behind. No one that you are calling and who has responded to your word will get left behind. We need every hand to build. To build this that you are after.

The Local Building Work

We were reminded of the story of Ezra and Nehemiah where they received the permission from King Cyrus to go and rebuild the house and city of God in Jerusalem. But only 2% heard the call and went to help. And even when they got there they started building, but then stopped building because they were weary. And so God raised up men who could come and call forth their destiny. Call forth and charge them to continue in what they were called to. So that they would continue building. So that they would stop focusing on building their own homes, and continue building the house of God.

So we asked the Lord to raise up Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s in this day. Not just individuals. But an Ezra and Nehemiah people. That will call forth for the rebuilding of the temple and city of God. For the building of God’s house the way He desires it. Those that will call forth the people in this country to let go of religion, to let go of Babylon, and take the journey to the Promised Land. Those who will have courage to fight with the one hand and build with the other. Those who are willing to sacrifice all for the sake of God’s name. For the sake of the new Jerusalem.

Lord we are really trusting you for this. Because we cannot do this without such men and women. Without a people that are willing to sacrifice all for your name and for your house. Lord we need this. We need you. Please call forth, sound forth your word. To the edges of this country. That you will begin to speak to the hearts of all those that you have kept for yourself. Those that have not blasphemed the name of Jesus. But that have kept themselves for you. People that will turn and say, “Amen, here I am to build. Let’s build the house in which God can dwell.”

We recognized that most of Christianity today is divided and that the Lord does not dwell in a house that is divided. We asked the Lord to have mercy on us.

We were reminded that the Lord said: “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail.”

So we asked the Lord to come and build in a very serious way. In a way that the gates of hell cannot prevail. Because we see that in Christianity the gates are prevailing. And this shows us that many are building according to their own understanding. They are not giving themselves to be built by the Lord. So we asked for a people that will give themselves over to God to be built by the Lord and the Lord alone.

We ask for those who will work alongside you and serve you in this building work. Raise them up in this country. Even those that are here today. Those of us that have been laboring in each of our localities. Lord would you strengthen our hands and feet. So that we may cooperate with you. So that we may co-labour with you.

Final prayers

Finally we asked the Lord to deal with our pride.

So that we will never think that we have arrived. We repented of all our pride, even the hidden pride that we cannot see. We asked the Lord to strip us of all pride. The thinking that we know, we have arrived, and we have enough knowledge of the Lord.

We realised that we can go so much deeper if we humble ourselves and give ourselves over to the Lord.

Lord please work in us so that we can give ourselves as living sacrifices that will lay down everything. That we will truly lay down our lives. Please ignite a fire and a passion in our hearts. That we will say “You are worth it!” Not just today, but every day. It is worthy to lay these things down because you are worth it. Lord let us lay everything down, our schedules, our own ideas, our own agendas. Everything. And let us see you and seek you. May we know you. Show your ways to us. May we “shama” with you. Listen and obey. Daily walk with you in obedience. We lay ourselves down and ask that we will not build but that you will build. You are the potter and we are the clay. Form us according to your desire. According to your will, according to your pattern.

In order to read more about the specifics the Lord spoke to us as well as download various recorded clips relating to the different sessions you can access each of the blog posts here: 

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