“The dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” Revelation 12:17
Heavenly Father, I’ve never been more aware of how much Satan hates the Bride of Jesus—your called out, beloved people. Having lost your sons and daughters for eternity, he will do anything and everything he can, overtly and covertly, to wage war against (and in) the church. We come to you today interceding for churches in the pernicious crosshairs and ugly vortex of Satan’s rage and schemes (2 Cor. 2:11).
Father, we praise you for what Satan knows. “He is filled with fury because he knows that his time is short” (Rev. 12:12). He knows Jesus has already defeated him. He’s the mortally wounded dragon, whose head has been crushed (Gen 3:15), whose works have been destroyed (1 John 3:1-10) and whose destiny has been sealed (Rev 20:10). “Hallelujah!”, we shout with joy and confidence.
Though we “tremble not for him,” knowing that one word from Jesus “will fell him” (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) nonetheless, we are aware that he is constantly threatening to “undo us”.
So hear our prayers for our church families: We pray for a fresh work of the Spirit in the hearts of our leaders—pastors, elders, deacons and staff. One of the most effective ways Satan attacks a church is by injecting the venom of distrust, divisiveness and disunity among its leaders. If leaders bite and devour one another, before long the whole church will follow suit.
Father, smite the hearts of our leaders with fresh gospel astonishment. Bring back convictability, humility, civility and charity. May the leaders of our church families be the ones most obviously committed to keeping and guarding “the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). May they be the ones most obviously committed to keeping God’s commands, especially the great commandment (Matt. 22:36-40) and the new commandment (John 13:34).
Father, we also pray for renewed gospel-centrality in every ministry of our local churches—in the children’s, youth, adult, preaching/teaching and worship ministries, in every ministry of the church. Because when a church ceases to “hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (Rev. 12:17)—cherishing, applying and defending the gospel of God’s grace, it becomes vulnerable to every scheme of Satan. No gospel? Then no center, no heart, no love, no sanity, no God-honoring witness to the community. Rescue our churches from pettiness and petulance.
Bring our churches back to the life-giving lyric and the heart-transforming the music of the gospel, Father. A hypothetical gospel only works for hypothetical sinners. Let us once again know that we are much more broken and in need of your grace than we presently realize. And also convince us that we are much more accepted and loved by you, than we ever dreamed or imagined. For the glory of your name, Father, be swift and sure in answering our cry. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ exalted and triumphant name.