A Prayer for Our Churches to Exist as Gardens of Grace
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. . . . Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Cor. 9:10-11, 15
Heavenly Father, once again you’ve given us a beautiful spring. I absolutely love this time of year. Every day begins and ends with a most refreshing cool and melodies of song birds. The browns and grays of winter step aside for the kaleidoscopic colors and aromatic wonder of a brand-new season.
As tiny buds segue into full leaf and bloom, I’m reminded of your covenant faithfulness. The cycle of seedtime and harvest will continue until the completed harvest of your pan-national family and the emergence of the ultimate garden city—the New Jerusalem. Oh, hasten that day! Hasten the day of the sneeze-less, allergy-less, sin-less new heaven and new earth!
Father, thanks for including us in this whole redeeming and greening process. You’ve not only promised to turn the barrenness and fallowness of our lives into a “well-watered garden” (Isa. 58:11; Jer. 31:12), you’ve also promised to use us as a means of making all things new, beautiful, lush, and fruitful. Cause the living water of Jesus to well up inside us and spill over into our neighborhoods and communities.
Gardening is hard, Father, with its weeds, pests, and drought; but the gospel is our surety. You’ve planted and raised the perfect seed, Jesus, as the first-fruit of the final harvest. We praise you for the indescribable gift of new life in Christ. There’s no possibility of crop failure. From the brokenness of the first creation will emerge the magnificent new creation world for which we long (Rev. 21:1-22:5).
Some of us plant, some of us water, but only you cause things to grow (1 Cor. 3:6). You are causing things to grow, and you will continue to do so. Indeed, “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world” (Col. 1:6).
O Father, make us and our church families gardens of grace and righteousness, for your glory and the benefit of our communities. Don’t let us play church; don’t let us fritter away our calling on pettiness, quarrelsomeness and ingrown-ness. Forgive us for wasting moments and money on things that do not matter. Compel us by your love to be a people to the glory of your grace. May the aroma of grace permeate everything we are and do. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ fruitful and faithful name.