Hurt in the ChurchQUESTION: Hurt in the Church - A Prayer for the Wounded ChurchANSWER:Hurt in the Church – Insights from God’s Word
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ''I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'' -- and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. - Psalm 32:4–7Hurt in the Church - Restore Your Body, Lord
Prayer: My King, in this quiet moment alone with You, I am at peace. Even though great turmoil surrounds me outside this door, in this moment I am secure in Your embrace. You drew me in here today before anyone was awake. You drew me in to minister to me, and I am profoundly grateful.
To be sequestered with You like this is what keeps me going. It is here that I find my focus. It is here with You that my strength returns and my battle armor is polished and repaired. It is tough sometimes out in the trenches of warfare that flies all around. It is tough some days to pick up my armor and fill myself with Your Word. There are days when all I want to do is forget there is a battle raging -- both on the earth and in the heavenlies. Then You remind me, as You reveal Your heart of pain at the anguish everywhere, that I have a job to do -- and it’s a vital one.
I feel Your anger today, Lord, as You look at the condition of Your flock. I recognize in this moment how long You have held back Your wrath -- largely because of a few faithful ones still hanging on and hanging in. I recognize You are showing me this for a reason, and I am stunned. In this moment I see Your anger burning at the selfishness, ego, and selfish ambition in Your own Body. I feel Your great love for Your flock, and I feel Your pain for those who have been harmed and wounded -- some so badly that they are in grave danger of giving up.
I can’t help but look to my own heart first to see if I am one of those who are wounding others by my own selfishness. It is almost impossible to be in Your Presence without seeing my own weaknesses -- and in this moment I hear You remind me how long You have been refining me -- so my own selfishness and ego would not harm others. I fall to my knees in gratitude at the knowledge of what might have been, had You not refined me in Your holy fire and taught me about integrity and purity of motivations. I am not perfect by any standard of measurement, but thankfully I can recognize when my old nature asserts itself -- which allows me to get right with You quickly.
My King, help us please. This strife, division, and selfishness must cease. No matter what the personal cost we must turn to You. I know the time is near when You will no longer tolerate behavior that has led to so much harm. I recognize in this moment that You want to restore Your Body. You are pouring out Your oil on Your leaders -- and You are raising up an army of intercessors to flood the camp of the faithful ones with the spiritual warfare protection so vital to the health and safety of Your flock.
Jesus, I ask You this day to shine Your glory on Your faithful ones so the rest of Your flock can identify them. So many of these leaders are largely unrecognized, but they have been faithful where You have put them to serve -- and they have attempted to protect those You have given them charge to protect. They have laid down their lives -- their own egos, selfish nature, and selfish ambition for the sake of those You gave them authority to care for.
This battered and often bruised body of leaders has learned to stand against fear. They have conquered their own doubts and their own fears -- and they are standing in the gap protecting others from the arrows of the evil one that fly all around them. Many of them are like the pastor who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, and yet stayed to feed those that were left behind. I know these great heroes of our faith could have never stood their ground had they not been prepared by You in the simplicity of their personal devotion to You.
Forgive us, my King, for not standing our ground when we have been told to stand and fight. Forgive us for not spending quiet moments alone with You each day where You could nurture and prepare us for what You have planned for us. Forgive and restore our leadership who have fallen victim to ego and selfishness, and get them ready to lead Your flock in a way that can only happen when they recognize their own weaknesses -- seek Your forgiveness -- spend time alone with You in preparation for the battles ahead.
You alone are the leader of our army and even though Your Body appears to be in disarray I know You are raising up leaders and followers who will serve at Your pleasure and only respond to Your "still small voice". They know Your voice -- and they have grown strong through their own wilderness experiences -- and they are ready to march when You give the orders. To You, my King, I give all the honor and glory!Hurt in the Church – Making it Personal
Reflect: As I was praying this morning, I could sense Jesus at the head of His army -- taking His rightful place. As this prayer indicates I did feel His anger burning at selfishness and ego, and at the same time I could feel His heart to restore and reconcile those who have fallen victim to this human condition. For me, the message was to get right myself -- to recognize that I have also been held captive to my ego -- and to seek God’s forgiveness. I also felt a clear warning not to judge others, but to help others whom I serve. If any of this touches your heart -- please get right with God. His anger is a dreadful thing, and it is only His faithfulness and His love that is stopping Him from acting on that anger. Be alert to these times in which we live.