– Choose one meal to abstain from for today the particular purpose of praying.
– Let our hunger for food be a reminder of our hunger for Christ and wisdom from the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4).
– Let physical hunger grow our spiritual hunger to honor Christ together as a church in future conversations and decisions (Phil. 1:20; 1 Peter 3:15).
– Let our physical weakness remind us that we need God to lead us by His Word (Exodus 15:2; 2 Corinthians 12:9).
– If you have a medical condition that makes fasting unwise, feel free to simply pray.
1. Agreement on Doctrine as a Foundation of Church Membership
1 Timothy 6:2b-7 (ESV)
” 2b Teach and urge these things. 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”
A. Pray that God would give wisdom to discern if RBC and CWBC have shared doctrinal convictions.
B. In considering this possibility pray that God would mark both congregations with godliness, protecting us from…
ii. craving controversy
iii. quarrels about words
vii. evil suspicions
viii. constant friction
C. Pray that RBC and CWBC would be content in Christ whether we pursue conversations about a merger or not
D. Pray that both congregations would joyfully submit to the sound words of Jesus Christ
E. Pray for unity and agreement particularly regarding the following points as they apply to meaningful regenerate church membership.
2. A Shared Biblical Understanding of Repentance
2 Corinthians 7:10-11 (ESV)
“10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”
Romans 8:13 (ESV)
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Colossians 3:5-8 (ESV)
“5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
Ephesians 4:25-32 (ESV)
“25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Romans 6:12-14 (ESV)
“12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
A. Pray for wisdom to understand if there is agreement regarding what repentance is.
B. Pray for wisdom to discern if we have a shared conviction about what it looks like to pursue godliness.
C. Pray for wisdom to discern is we have a shared desire to be killing/mortifying our sin.
3. A Shared Biblical Understanding of Regeneration & Conversion
Titus 3:4-7 (ESV)
“4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
John 3:3 (ESV)
“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”
John 3:16-18 (ESV)
“16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (ESV)
“16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV)
“1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
A. Pray that neither church would condemn the world’s sin more that we do our own.
B. Pray that we don’t put sins in a hierarchy and tolerate some sins (especially our own) more than others.
C. Pray that in the church gatherings that both congregations would devote time to sing and pray confessions of sin.
D. Pray that we wouldn’t describe our own sins as mistakes when they are active rebellion against God.
E. Pray that we wouldn’t use the Bible to teach morality in such a way that people think they are good or able to make up for their sins or to please God without Jesus Christ.
Some of the ideas for prayer on this third point are from: Lawrence, Michael L. Conversion, How God Creates a People (Wheaton: Crossway, 2017), 21.