This past Sunday we began a new series titled ‘Home Sweet Home?’ looking at what it means for us as disciples of Jesus to continue to follow him during our time in Lockdown.
These past few weeks in isolation have meant that our homes have become the key places from which we live out our lives and our faith. For many of us we may have come into this time with the expectation that we would thrive and flourish in our discipleship to Jesus within this context. Perhaps we envisioned that this would be a moment for us to press into our relationship with God, spending time seeking his presence, abiding in him and seeing his fruit produced in our lives.
Maybe this is the reality we find ourselves in as the rhythms of our lives have become slower paced allowing us more time and space to prioritize our relationship with God.
BUT it is equally as likely for the opposite to be true.
Perhaps despite having less to do we may find ourselves more distracted from Jesus than ever. For those of us whose home environments offer plenty of escapism opportunities (social media, you tube, tv etc) and coping mechanisms (food, alcohol, porn etc) we may find ourselves plugging into anything and everything other than Jesus.
We may have become discouraged by the sin or idols that have been revealed in our lives during this season, as the pressures of the Coronavirus bring these to the surface. Our guilt and shame because of this might have even caused us to keep God at a distance.
Some of us might find ourselves in chaotic home environments filled with relational tension, bills that keep piling up, and incomes that are reducing. Our homes may be places where every waking moment is filled with immense stress and uncertainty, causing us to withdraw from God.
And yet despite all of this God is continuously drawing us to himself. He is consistently faithful and entirely committed to us no matter what our time in Lockdown has looked like so far. He extends his grace to us, calling us to turn to him. He invites us to abide in him, and promises that as we do so that he will be at work in our lives producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us (John 15 and Galatians 5).
As we remind ourselves of the Gospel, of who Jesus is and what he has done for us, we can be assured that our sins are completely forgiven in him, and that we have full access to come into his presence.
The reality is that it would be very easy for us to drift away from Jesus as we isolate ourselves at home. The truth is that life in isolation might call for more intentionality when it comes to our discipleship to Jesus than what we originally thought it would. But one thing remains certain: because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and victory over death, we know that we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4v16)”.
As we continue to work out our faith as followers of Jesus within our home context, would we continue to remind ourselves of the Gospel and the impact it has on our lives?
Would we spend time seeking God, asking him to be at work in our lives producing the fruit of the Spirit in us?
Would we prioritise the presence of God in our lives, approaching God confidently in prayer, knowing that we will find his unwavering grace and mercy in our time of need?
PRAYER POINTS FOR THE WEEK:
Prayer for Households and Families
- We pray that our homes would be filled with God’s peace at this time as opposed to fear and panic.
- We pray for households facing tough financial circumstances, that they would put their trust in God and know his providence at this time.
- We pray for those who are physically on their own during this lockdown period, that even whilst in isolation they would not experience loneliness but that they would be cared for, encouraged by and feel the joy of community and the nearness of God, at this time.
- We pray for generosity to flourish within our families, households and communities and that we would show social solidarity at this time, supporting those who are in need.
- We pray for parents who are under pressure whilst working from home and home schooling their children, that God would strengthen them and give them wisdom, patience and insight as they navigate their multiple roles and responsibilities.
- We pray that parents would be able to lead their children well through this pandemic and that the family structure would be strengthened as families spend more time with one another.
- We pray for students currently learning in the home environment, that their homes would be places of curiosity, inquiry, and study.
- We pray specifically for those without regular access to the internet and other digital tools, that they would easily be able to catch up on work missed once back in the school environment.
- We pray that God would restore marriages that are under pressure and on the brink of collapsing. We pray that God would unify husbands and wives at this time. That this would be an opportunity for marriages to be strengthened and not weakened.
- We pray for relationships experiencing conflict during Lockdown, that God would be at work in these relationships brining reconciliation and unity.
- We pray for expectant mothers, who face the prospect of labour and delivery without the support system they had hoped for. We pray that God would bring them peace and fill them with joy during this time and would protect their babies.
- We pray for those who are currently stuck in abusive situations that God would provide protection and rescue for victims, and comfort them in their vulnerability.
- We pray for healing for those who are sick. We also pray for their family members, that they would be strengthened by God to care for those who are in their homes whilst also taking care to protect themselves.
- We pray for those dying alone in hospitals and for their loved ones who remain at home. That God would draw near to them and comfort them in their time of grief.
- We pray that the church would rise up at this time to love their neighbours well, and serve the households and families around them in whatever way they can.
- We pray that many families and households who do not know Jesus would come to know him during this crisis. We pray that many people would be saved.
- We pray that our homes would be places where God is glorified and praised.
Prayer for our Discipleship to Jesus
- We pray that as followers of Jesus we would prioritise spending time with Jesus during Lockdown, and that we would draw near to him even in the midst of our struggles and pain.
- We pray against distraction, and using escapism and coping mechanisms to survive lockdown instead of turning to Jesus.
- We pray that where we feel guilt and shame regarding the sin and idols in our lives, that we would remind ourselves of the Gospel, and of our true identity in Jesus.
- We pray that we would not keep God at a distance when we do sin. That instead we would come to him, ask him for forgiveness, repent where necessary, and give him thanks that in Jesus we are made righteous and receive the power of the Holy Spirt to help us turn from our sins.
- We pray that God would help us to abide in him and remain in his love. We pray that as we do this that the Holy Spirit would produce his fruit in our lives helping us to become more like Jesus.
- We pray that even in Lockdown we would grow in our maturity as followers of Jesus. That we would each take steps forward in our discipleship and obedience to him.