For those in the church that feel that Christians are being marginalized by our culture, I offer the following prayer that I read in Psalm 80 this morning:
“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!”Psalm 80:1–7, ESV
Jesus told Peter (and us) that He will build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail over it. Yet sometimes, in America, it feels like the reverse is true. The church appears to be in decline and some very vocal antagonists triumphantly announce the irrelevance of faith in Jesus Christ.
Yet, those of us who believe in Jesus’ promise to build his church can pray that God will restore us individually and as local congregations so that we accurately present the claims of Christ and live out the faith that we claim to have.
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine so that we may be used by you to build your church and storm the gates of hell.
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