5 Prayers for Your People in this Hard SeasonBy Greg Vanderleeuw
February 1, 2021
Who is the oldest person you have personally known? Perhaps after a season in ministry, there has been someone in your congregation who has lived a long and healthy life. I often wonder how long I would actually like to be on this earth. Considering the global events of the past twelve months, there seems to be an ever-increasing longing that the days the Lord has numbered for me would hopefully be right around what Psalm 90 suggests, “…the years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty…”
As a leader of God’s people this past year, Psalm 90 invites me personally to find ways to number my days as to make them count for God’s glory.
The Psalmist invites God to help us number our days and to change. His prayer is something like, “Lord, things need to change!” Proof of this invitation occurs in almost every verse (ex. Return to us, satisfy us, make us, show us, favor us, establish us).
As a leader, we are weak and dependant on the Lord to use the ministries He has called us to. Maybe this season you are finding more than ever, your sheep are unwilling to seek God. Maybe you are finding that they are apathetic to God’s power and indifferent to his blessing in their lives. In some ways, you may be struggling with how to convince your people to continue on, to persevere, and to be reminded that God is still in control.
Leader, right now, your church needs your prayers. Right now, your church needs encouragers.
After the year we have seen in ministry, there are those in your midst who are struggling. They are struggling to “guard the deposit,” entrusted to them (2 Tim. 1:14), they are struggling to “persevere” (Heb. 11:1). How do you know they are struggling? Well, most likely, like you may have felt this year that they are struggling to do what Psalm 90 invites: seek God’s presence, His power, and His blessing. The psalmist prays on behalf of God’s people for things to change and for God to move.
Prayers for Your People.
There are a few well-known verses that remind and stir up God’s people in this season. I have found myself to be praying these verses over them.
“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I wonder in this season what I can do to be an encouragement to people that I have the privilege of leading. Particularly, I find it harder to know what to say or how to build courage when sheep are struggling, apathetic and unmotivated to seek refuge in God alone.
Leader, I want to encourage you to start (or continue) praying for them like never before. I invite you to pray the prayers that the psalmist cries in Psalm 90 that they become prayers you pray for your people this year.
Prayer #1: Return to us with your mercy. (Ps. 90:13)
For the wayward child, the prodigal son, the habitual sinner, those needing a fresh renewal of God’s Spirit.
For those, who like God’s people in the first part of Psalm 90, perhaps have invited their trials upon themselves and need God’s mercy to bring them to a place of perspective and repentance. What follows are a series of prayer prompts that may help you as you pray for your people.
Prayer #2: Satisfy us with your love. (Ps. 90:14)
That those who have found satisfaction in the things of this world will realize that these false hope are growing “strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”
That God’s people would grow in their affection for Him. For those who struggle in their quiet times, will see these times become their delight. That those who value rest and sleep above time with their God would realize that the dividends from time with God are exponentially greater than dividends from time sleeping.
Prayer #3: Show us your works and power. (Ps. 90:16a)
That as we look forward this would be a year that we as a church would be seeking the Lord’s power through miracles, salvation stories and filled baptismal tanks.
That we would be asking for God to demonstrate to us ways that he is with us and for us and reminding us that he is all we need.
Prayer #4: Show us, and future generations! (Ps. 90:16)
That God would show us His works and power this year to not only prove to us that He is with us and moving in our midst, but that this move of God would continue in our ministries.
That our future generations would also see this move of God that would lead them to “set their hope in God” (Ps. 78).
Prayer #4: Favor us as your people. (Ps. 90:17)
That our congregations are a people who radiate the beauty of God. That by how we live our lives it is so evident that God is with us because of what he is doing in us and through us.
That, as David writes in Psalm 27:4, we would long to sit in God’s presence and behold his beauty as His people, redeemed by His Son.
Prayer #5: Establish us with your blessing (Ps. 90:17)
That God would bless the work of our hands.
That our families, our businesses, our ministries, our missions would seek God’s blessing and favor as we see His kingdom advanced for His glory.
Brothers and sisters, Psalm 90 invites us to consider that life does not last forever: 70 years, maybe 80, maybe less, or maybe more. It’s an invitation for us as we consider the brevity of life to know that under the sovereignty of an everlasting God we are invited to make the days that God has gifted us count.
Pray these prayers for yourself this year. Pray these prayers for your people. Pray these prayers for the Church.
The Lord knows we need it. Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.