PRAY THAT THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST WILL COME TO FULL MATURITY AS THE FLOCK OF GOD AT ALL LEVELS: FROM THE INDIVIDUAL TO THE GLOBAL LEVEL
The launch of the theme for this week can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRC6bK23fxM
PRAY INTO THE FOCUS OF EACH DAY AS IT RELATES TO THE THEME OF THE WEEK
It is important to note that all leaders have a shepherding role whether they serve in the Church or outside the Church. In Ezekiel 34 and Jeremiah 23, God was addressing the civic leaders of the day, who in our times would be equivalent to the political leaders (read the entire chapters); shepherding principles still applied. He called them shepherds though they were not the religious leaders of Israel. Heads of homes, churches, organizations, communities and even nations have a shepherding role in their leadership call.
THANKSGIVING FOR CHRIST THE CHIEF SHEPHERD
- Praise the Lord for all the benefits of being shepherded by Christ
The LORD is my shepherd – Relationship
I shall not want – Provision/Supply
He makes me lie down in green pastures – Rest
He leads me beside still waters – Refreshment
He restores my soul – Renewal/Restoration/Healing
He leads me in paths of righteousness – Guidance
For his name’s sake – Honor/Nobility/Dignity
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – Stability in Times of Trials
I will fear no evil – Confidence in Every Circumstance
For you are with me – Divine Presence
Your rod and your staff, – Guidance, Discipline and Protection
They comfort me – Security
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies – Vindication
You anoint my head with oil – Protection from irritating flies (demons)
My cup overflows – Abundance
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life – Blessing and Positive
Expectation in Life
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever – Home and Eternal Belonging
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
THANK GOD FOR:
- Our Chief Shepherd who laid down his life for us
- God will deliver the flock of Jesus Christ from hirelings
- The under-shepherds in the Church of Jesus Christ will follow His example and lay down their lives for the sheep
- The under-shepherds in the Church of Jesus Christ will follow Christ’s example in bringing in the sheep that are yet out of the fold
- The under-shepherds in the Church of Jesus Christ (as leaders in the home, church, community and nation) will follow the example of the Chief Shepherd as outlined in Psalm 23 in ministering to their flock
PRAYING FOR THE ELDERS IN THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.
The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them.
Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
ASK GOD TO FORGIVE THE SHEPHERDS WHERE THEY HAVE:
- Fed themselves and not cared for the sheep
- Not strengthened the weak
- Not ministered to the sick
- Not bound up the injured
- Not sought and brought back the lost and strayed
- Used force and harshness to rule
- Allowed wolves and wild beast to devour the sheep
- Allowed the sheep to scatter
- Driven away the flock
PRAY THAT GOD WILL RAISE SHEPHERDS AT ALL LEVELS WHO WILL CARE FOR THE SHEEP
1 PETER 5:1-5
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
PRAY FOR THE ELDERS AMONG THE CHURCH OF CHRIST:
- That they will feed the flock as Christ himself would
- That they will diligently watch over the flock of God
- That they will not do so out of a sense of duty but rather out of love for the Chief Shepherd
- That they would so willingly and not exploitatively for what they can get from the flock
- That they would not be bossy over God’s people but rather lead by being exemplary
Pray for the flock:
- That they will maintain a humble heart and shun rebellious attitudes
- Pray for the Church of Christ that a new spirit of humility will permeate it.
- Pray that the shepherds will increasingly manifest the qualities espoused by Apostle Paul his letters to 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9:
- Marital Fidelity
- Aptitude for teaching
- Good home management
- Good Repute
- Loving good
- Scriptural Soundness
He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
Pray that the under-shepherds will:
- Tend their flock like a shepherd
- Gather the lambs in their arms and carry them he will carry them in his bosom, and
- Gently lead those that are with young.
These were Apostle Paul’ s last words to the elders of the church in Ephesus.
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Pray that elders in the Church of God will:
• Understand that they are overseers appointed by the Holy Spirit; the flock do not belong to them but to Jesus Christ who paid for the flock with His own blood
- Pay careful attention to themselves
- Pay careful attention to the flock under their care
- Be alert for the wolves from outside and the wolves in sheep’s clothing among the sheep
- Not hesitate to use the rod against the wolves
- Follow the example of Apostle Paul in
- Admonishing the flock day and night with tears
- Not coveting any one’s money or belongings (silver, gold or clothes)
- Working hard to meet their needs and even contributing to the needs of the flock
- Giving more than they receive
PRAY FOR THE FLOCK
JOHN 10:27, 28
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
• Pray that the sheep will learn the voice of the True Shepherd
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
• Pray that the sheep will learn to obey and submit to leadership
PRAY THAT THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST WILL COME TO FULL MATURITY AS THE FLOCK OF GOD AT ALL LEVELS: FROM INDIVIDUAL TO THE GLOBAL LEVEL
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
The downloadable version of the guide can be found here: Week 2 Church as Flock of God Prayer Guide