The start of a new calendar year gives us a chance to pause – we want to take a moment to stop, to lift our eyes to our Heavenly Father, and to once again commit our work to the Lord.
This January, at our annual staff training conference, we spent time doing exactly this – prayerfully committing the year ahead to God.
Here, three of our new Field Team Leaders share reflections from Scripture and each lead us in a prayer for CU ministry. Please do join us in these three prayers for the work.
Praying for salvation
Ang Dalton, North East Team Leader
When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death. Joshua 2:11-13
At a recent team day, we were reflecting and rejoicing in Joshua chapter 2, where a truly unlikely character comes centre stage in God’s salvation plan: Rahab, an extreme outsider who is welcomed into the family. A woman on the fringes, who could have so easily been driven by fear of Jericho’s King, is instead driven by fear of the Lord and remarkable faith as she declares the words in the verses above.
A bold declaration in who Yahweh is, followed by a bold ask for salvation, because she knows who He is! This story comes after the Israelite leadership handover to Joshua – it's not the story you expect, but it reveals something significant about who God is.
He is a God of salvation for all people. The qualifying factor isn’t where you’re from. There isn’t a disqualifying factor of what your life has looked like. Salvation is dependent on knowing, declaring and trusting in God. And God’s vision for salvation is huge, so much bigger than ours often is! And it’s our prayer to share this big vision of salvation. So please would you join us in praying for unlikely disciples this year?
Please pray for our vision of salvation to match what we see in Scripture, for our CUs to love, welcome and boldly share Jesus with those they think are unlikely to respond, and that many on the fringes would come into God's family.
Remembering Jesus’ presence
Esther Dickson, Scotland Team Leader
This is the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. Revelation 1:20
This year in Scotland, the staff team are studying the book of Revelation. It’s been a total joy to sit under God’s Word together and this big prayer comes from the end of Chapter One. John has been shown the most amazing vision of Jesus. Scriptural promises and pictures teem in every detail, showing His glory, sovereignty and righteousness – the overall image barely fits in to a human brain as you read it. John’s response of being awe-struck is completely understandable because seeing this Jesus is overwhelming! Yet we’re told in verse 13 where Jesus is and in verse 20 what that means. He is among the lampstands which represent the churches. This magnificent Jesus is in the midst of His beloved people.
When you dig into the faith, sinfulness, hardships, and complexities in those seven churches (as chapters two and three depict them), these verses become even more amazing. In their variety and their mess, these churches are known and spoken to and helped. This glorious Jesus actively chooses to be with these churches. His splendour is such a contrast to their struggles but what a stunning picture of the gospel that is!
Please pray for us as a fellowship, that we would hold to the reality that this magnificent Jesus is fully present with us as His messy people. Pray that we’d have deep assurance that this doesn’t change in any situation, and that we would dwell in the beauty and majesty of the one like a ‘Son of Man’.
Believing in the work of the Holy Spirit
Phil Lowman, South West Team Leader
Though encouraged by freshers’ weeks and CU Weekends Away and Christmas outreach, many students are exhausted as they look to a new term and prepare to tackle exams. This can be a time in the CU year when doubts and discouragements start to creep in; students can wonder if they will see the fruit of their labour, whether they will see any of their friends come to faith.
In such moments, it can be easy for students to fight discouragement with increased activity: doubling efforts to hand out more flyers, running more events, engaging with more slightly forced gospel conversations, all with the glorious goal of seeing more students enter the Kingdom. But in moments like this, we do well to remember Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John 3:5-8:
‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.’
These words are both challenging and encouraging. Flesh gives birth to flesh; more human activity cannot guarantee that people enter the Kingdom. But gloriously, the mighty, saving work of the Spirit can! He is the one who makes dead hearts alive to Christ, that they too may enter the Kingdom!
So pray for CUs, that in the midst of weariness and discouragement, they would be driven to deeper prayer and dependence on the work of the Holy Spirit!
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