(Leader: Begin your gathering together by taking communion together, whether as a full meal together or some version of the bread and the cup before or after your meal. If you don’t already have a Communion liturgy, take a moment to be still and have people reflect with gratitude on the prompt: Where did God go above-and-beyond today or this week? After some time in silence, have a few people share their prayers of gratitude to God.)
Read This Overview Aloud Together
For millennia and all over the world, the church has been pausing at set aside times during the day to pray – the Israelites, Jesus, the early church, Christian denominations and monasteries throughout history have all done it, and many followers of Jesus today do too. We sense an invitation from the Spirit to participate with the global, historic church by returning to this ancient Practice. Our Daily Prayer Rhythm will have three parts: morning, midday, and evening. And over the next few weeks we will explore this Rhythm as a church on Sundays and practice it together in Communities.
Tonight, we will dive into our Midday Prayer Rhythm: praying for the lost. Practically, this looks like setting aside a few minutes in the middle of your day to pause and lift up to God those in your life who don’t know Jesus, asking him to encounter them in a new way that might bring their salvation. But, more than that, we want to participate with God in these stories, so we will also ask him to send us out to become the answers to our prayers.
The goal of this three-part Daily Prayer Rhythm is for each of us to build the habit of communing with God in the normal parts of our lives, so that we can grow in intimacy with him and participate in his coming Kingdom in and around us.
Do This Practice Tonight
Tonight, we want to practice this rhythm in a way that offers a tangible framework we can use when praying for the lost each midday.
Read Luke 15v4-7. First, let’s read the story that Jesus tells of a shepherd’s response to losing one of his sheep, a story that reveals to us God’s heart for the lost and invites us to become more like him. (Leader: Have someone read the passage.)
Pray for the lost by name. Next, let’s pause to ask the Spirit to bring to mind people we know who are far from God. We will take a few moments in silent reflection now to let him bring people to mind.
(After this moment of silence) Let’s all pray out loud at the same time for these people by name. Let’s ask God, the Good Shepherd, to go after them, to restore them, and to bring them salvation. Let’s pray together out loud.
Pray for compassion. Next, we want to ask God to give us his heart for the lost: seeing as he sees and loving as he loves. Let’s take some time in silent prayer asking God for compassion. As you do this, feel free to confess to God anything that’s getting in the way of compassion today. Ask God to soften the hard places in your heart, so that it might be made more like his. Let’s pray silently in our hearts.
Pray to be sent. Finally, we want to invite God to send us. As we have asked God to pursue our loved ones, we now ask him to send us out with his empowering presence to the lost around us. Let’s have a few people pray, inviting God to open our eyes and ears, that we might pursue the lost and pray for their salvation in the way our Good Shepherd does. Ask that he would inspire our imagination with ways to love, bring people to mind we don’t expect, and surprise us with invitations to be his hands and feet. Let’s have a few people pray these things out loud individually so that we can agree with them as they pray.
Close in Gratitude. (Leader: When you’re ready, close the prayer thanking God for what he’s done, for what he’s doing, and for all the people we will see come to faith in Jesus through these faithful, daily prayers.)
Read The Practice for the Week Ahead
The Practice for the week ahead is essentially the same as it was tonight: take 5 minutes each midday to pray for the lost by name, to ask God for compassion, and to ask God to send us out and give us opportunities to share Jesus. So let’s all set aside some time at whatever “midday” means for each of us (e.g. lunch break, your child’s naptime, a walk, etc.) to pray for the lost.
Since good habits can take some time to form, Bridgetown has partnered with 24-7 Prayer to make a free app called Inner Room to help us build this rhythm. The app has the option to set reminders at certain times each day and has the prompts we used tonight (in long and short form) to help us “train” together to order our lives by radical fidelity to Jesus. We are also practicing the Morning Daily Prayer Rhythm scattered around the city for eight weeks at our Prayer Hubs.
The next time we meet, we’ll start by checking in on how the Midday Daily Prayer Rhythm has been going for everyone — to share what went well, what was difficult, any cool stories, or any creative or helpful ideas.
End in Prayer
(Leader: Close your time together in prayer, asking that God would help us train to be the kinds of people who order our lives by rebellious fidelity to Jesus and that he would bring many to salvation as we pray.)