A Prayer for a Substantive Work of the Spirit in Our Churches
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matt. 5:13-16
Dear Lord Jesus, at times I fantasize about running off to Switzerland with my family; living in a community of chalets with several other non-codependent families; escaping the drama and crazy-making of “church life”; disengaging from the American political process and my disintegrating culture; becoming a “foodie”, hiker and photographer, while waiting for your second coming. But that’s a confession of sin, not a prayer request born from meditating on the Scriptures.
For starters, I couldn’t afford to pay for such a selfish fantasy. More importantly, I realize this isn’t the lifestyle for which you’ve redeemed us, not the story into which you’ve called us. The church belongs to you, Lord Jesus; she’s your broken, yet greatly beloved bride—your primary means of telling your story and advancing your kingdom.
Yet, as with everything else, we often take the church into the idol factory of our hearts and retool her to be an ingrown club for our own satisfaction. Forgive us, Jesus. Forgive me. You’ve called and commissioned us to live as the “salt of the earth.” We’re not garlic, paprika, or sugar; we’re salt. Salt preserves and fends off decay. Salt heals and soothes—it has medicinal value. Salt brings flavor and enhances other flavors. And salt only “works” when it’s out of the saltshaker. Alas, my own prayer convicts me.
Lord Jesus, how does a believer, like myself, lose their saltiness; and, for that matter, how does a whole church family lose their vision and passion? What’s involved in flavor loss? How do we get disconnected from the gospel, and hooked up to a bunch of other things that don’t matter squat? Where do first love, fresh faith and belly-fire go? More importantly, what does renewal look like?
Come, Holy Spirit, come. We need you to stir our hearts. Only you are powerful enough to re-salt the de-salted; to bring us back to gospel sanity; to restore in us the joy of God’s salvation; to reengage the disengaged with God’s plan for our communities, the cities, and the nations.
Father, before we ask you know our need. Do exceedingly beyond all we ask and can imagine. If not a full-bore revival, grant us, at least, a substantive renewal. So very Amen we earnestly pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.