Before you begin, take a few moments to quiet your mind and prepare your heart to receive God’s Word. Read the following passage at least twice, and then pray through the points below.
1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
God faithfully provided gifted leaders to lead the early church. Today, God is still faithful to provide Christ-exalting leaders to lead our church and the other churches in the cooperative. Take a few moments to reflect on God's provision through equipped and gifted leaders. Thank God for your leaders by name, and pray that He would continue to encourage them, bless them with spiritual gifts, and use them to exhort and edify the church.
We need faithful and gifted leaders to lead the teams of people we will send to the nations. Pray that God would show us how to build solid support systems around these leaders to keep them encouraged and healthy. Ask God to clearly identify these leaders in our church. Pray that these men and women would be steadfast, good, full of the Holy Spirit, and full of faith. Finally, pray that they would be sober-minded and watchful, because our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
God tells us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1). These gifts are to be used in love for the building up of the church. Ask God to pour out spiritual gifts on both goers and leaders of teams who go to the nations, that new believers in those places will be built up in Christ. Ask God to give spiritual gifts to those who send as well—that the believers they support would be built up.