Yesterday I read an article in The Alabama Baptist (https://www.thealabamabaptist.org/ministry-to-fellow-church-members-community-does-not-have-to-stop-during-crisis/) discussing the possible ramifications that doors closing due to the COVID-19 could have on the church. This morning as I sat before the LORD and His Word and turned open my journal to clean page, the Lord led me to Psalm 41. As I read this Psalm, the Spirit led me to pray this as the church.
I am a woman who has been deeply wounded by the church. I am also a woman who still deeply loves the church. I am a woman who believes the Word of God, every single word of it. I know that the church, the true church is the body of Christ, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against the true church. The true church is not a building, it is a people from every nation, tribe, and tongue, united by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, called out to die in Him and rise again as a new creation. We are a new creation in the process of being conformed into the image of God that we were always intended to be. Sometimes this gets messy, and that’s okay, because our God has supplied us more than enough grace to be sufficient for the mess and His mercies are new every morning.
Therefore, though the church might look different, and I do pray that we will, I know that the church of the Living God will rise. My heart is that as buildings are closed, hearts will be opened. My hope is that while routines are halted, memorized rote and worship by man made tradition will be as well. I pray that as pews, and chair rails, and bathrooms are cleansed and purified that hands and hearts and minds and mouths will be too. When this season of quarantine passes might the true church be obedient to assemble together in holiness and godly love for one another.
I lift up Your church, for it is YOUR church. It has never been my church. This I believe, we, as a whole, have forgotten. We have forgotten that we are Yours. We have forgotten that it was always supposed to be about Your will done on earth as it is in heaven, not our own. May we remember that we are Yours. Father I come now, and I pray Your Word back to You as I seek Your face.
How blessed is the church who considers the helpless; the Lord will deliver His church in a day of trouble. The Lord will protect His church and keep His church alive, and His church shall be called blessed upon the earth. Father, do not give Your church over to the desire of our enemies. O Lord do sustain us upon our sickbed; through this illness, You restore us to health.
As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to us; heal our soul, for we have sinned against You.” Our enemies speak evil against us, “When will the church die, and the name of Jesus perish?” And there are even those that when they comes to see us, they speak falsehood; their heart gathers wickedness to itself; and when they go outside, they tell it. All who hate Your church whisper together against us; against us they devise our hurt, saying, “A wicked thing is poured out upon us, that when we lie down, we will not rise up again.” Even our close friends in whom we trusted, who ate our bread, have lifted up their heel against us.
But You, O Lord, be gracious to Your church and raise us up, that we may repay them with good. By this we know that You are pleased with us, because our enemy does not shout in triumph over us. Oh Father, as for Your true church, You uphold us in our integrity, and You set us in Your presence forever.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, the God of the Church, from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
The church here in the United States, even here in the “Bible belt” south has been sick way before COVID-19. There has been much cleansing that needed to be done. We will be looking at over forty days of quarantine. Right now we are looking at seven Sundays of no gathering in our buildings with Easter Sunday being right there in the midst of it. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe the Sovereign God of all Creation has times in His hand and every moment matters. May we not miss what our Lord is teaching us in this moment in time.
The church will rise. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church. Through this time of holy rest might we get our priorities in order. Might we seek Him and His kingdom and allow His discipline to have its way in us (Hebrews 12). May we allow the One who opens doors and shuts them to have His way (Revelation 3). May we become a church that the world once again might be able to recognize because of our love for Jesus (Revelation 2), our love for one another, and our love for the world (John 3:16, 1 John 4). May we be holy. May we be salt. May we be light. May we be one.
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. ~ Jesus (John 13:35)