by Mike Durbin
PLYMOUTH, MI - Jesus lived a life of prayer. We see Him praying over and over again in the Gospels, especially before critically important decisions in His life. We watch Jesus pray at His baptism, as He chooses the 12 apostles, in the Garden of Gethsemane as He seeks God’s will, and on the cross as He dies for our salvation to name a few.
His prayer life is so powerful that one of the disciples asks Him, “Lord, teach us to pray...” (Luke 11:1). It is because of this request we have the great model prayer that begins: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Luke 11:2).
Jesus demonstrates the importance of prayer over and over again in His life. His prayerful communion with the Father is an example for all of us that we need God!
Michigan Baptists are commencing a five-year emphasis to have 500 churches in 2025 in partnership with us. It’s a God sized goal - one that we will only see accomplished as we prayerfully depend on God. Five themes will guide us as we move forward together: Praying, Thriving, Equipping, Engaging and Celebrating. Praying is not only the beginning of the emphasis; it is vital through every moment. We work best when we work together and praying draws us closer to God and each other.
Over the course of 500 Churches by 2025, we will direct Michigan Baptists to various resources that will help us on this mission. One of my favorite resources for this year’s theme of prayer is Bless Every Home. It’s simple to use, free, and can be used by an individual or as part of a church wide emphasis to blanket your community in prayer.
Every morning, Bless Every Home sends me the names of five of my neighbors to pray for in an email. Some on the list, I already know. Some, I have yet to meet. All of them are loved by God and need Him in their lives. There are days when I know exactly how to pray for my neighbors.
Shar and I recently met up with one of our neighbors on our walk. She brought us up to date about her husband’s health. He had spent several weeks in the hospital, but was at home recovering. All the stress, worry, and running of the last few months left her exhausted. The next morning her and her husband’s names were on my email list sent by Bless Every Home. I knew how to pray specifically for their needs. I prayed for his continued healing and for strength, peace, and rest for his wife as she cares for him. I also prayed and asked God to draw them to Jesus through all of this, and to use me in whatever way He needed to share His love with them.
There are times when I’m not sure how to pray for my neighbors. This happens most often when I have not had the opportunity to get to know them personally. Sometimes I use the suggested prayer that comes with my daily prayer list. Here is the prayer that came today:
“Bless my neighbors with freedom from worry. May we determine to turn every anxious thought into prayer with thanksgiving. May Your peace that is beyond understanding guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ.” This prayer is based on the Apostle Paul’s teaching on prayer in Philippians 4:6-7.
Bless Every Home is a daily encouragement that God calls us to be lights for Christ. It helps us live on mission in our neighborhoods. It gives us tools not only to pray, but to care, share, and disciple those who live closest to us. It is also a resource that we can use as individuals, or for a church wide emphasis to blanket our communities in prayer. It’s an effective resource Michigan Baptists can use to punch holes in the darkness as we begin 500 Churches by 2025!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.