Over the course of three months, we have seen major changes and upheavals in our world that continue to influence daily life. One thing I keep hearing is the repeated message: “Things can never go back to the way they were before.” Usually, when that statement is made, it is spoken as a negative commentary on all the situations that are filling our feeds and screens currently.
Though none of us could have predicted the difference we see today in how the culture stands and how the church rethinks approaches on how to best reach a lost world, I would say that we could make that same statement with regard to our lives as followers of Christ: “Things can never go back to the way they were before.” Why can we say that? Because as we follow Jesus – as we cling to the hope we have in him and stay close to him by feasting on scripture – we will find that it is indeed true: we cannot go back; we will be transformed.
I know that a transformed life for Christ is not the intent of the original statement made by politicians and news anchors when they say that “things can never go back to the way they were before.” But no matter how noble-minded or self-serving their intentions may be, neither Congress nor the networks, a million activists or a single person with an axe to grind, will be able to create any positive, eternal change in a human heart by earthly means. That is God’s work.
With this in mind, perhaps the question we must ask as we follow Christ may sound like this: “If I believe that a life with Christ is a transformational experience, how do I see that Jesus has changed me over the last 90 days?” Asking myself that question, I find that God has used this time to show me many things that are of greater value than I once thought they were. He has also revealed that there are many more things that I have held as being of high importance that may be good, but they are not his best. My prayer is that God has taught, led, comforted and transformed you as well.
Situations rage around us as we are still in a hard season, and in the days to come, it might become even harder in some ways. But this is not a close; no, this is an opening. As our country “reopens,” my prayer is that we who follow Christ will reopen any parts of our hearts that were formerly closed to him as we consider how he has spoken to us over the last three months. The principles we practice here are preparation for what is to come. With that in mind, this is not an end; let’s consider the last 90 days to be a foreword to all our chapters that remain unwritten as of now.
So, as we open this time and step into this new season with Christ, I’d like to offer a prayer for all of us who follow him…
You are great – great beyond words. Your power is seen throughout all creation. Evidence of your goodness is clear when we look around us. As your people we have prayed, and we continue to do so. We have prayed for your wisdom, guidance, endurance and grace during this season. You have provided, sustained, protected and led us.
In the days to come, hard times will emerge. We’ll have dark nights and long days. Some of us will feel like giving up. Some of us will question why things happen as they do. Some of us will walk through our hours with broken hearts and wounded spirits. But no matter how hard it might be, you will be there as you are “near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18).
Father, I pray that we would surrender every area of our lives to the rule of Jesus (Romans 12:1-2). I pray that we would hold nothing back from his control, his power and his will for us. I pray that in the days to come that we would know the riches we have in Christ (Ephesians 1:18-19), and we would consider ourselves blessed beyond measure (Ephesians 1:3).
I pray that our prayer lives, both in private and within the church, would grow in passion and in focus – that we would be unsatisfied and weary of half-hearted devotion and routine, distracted approaches to you – so we may know you and your will more clearly and deeply. As we grow in prayer, I pray that we know what it means to walk so closely with Christ that our very thoughts are aligned with yours (Matthew 6:6; 18:19-20, 1 Corinthians 2:14-16).
May we repent quickly (2 Corinthians 6:17), walk with integrity (Hebrews 13:18) and share the gospel boldly (Matthew 28:18-20).
I pray that we will live in such a way that even when the world comes against us, our lives will bear witness to your goodness, grace, strength and love (1 Peter 2:12).
And God, while we are here, may we live by your power, on your mission, for your will, so that when we face you, each of us may hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23).
I ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ,
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2