Praying for Restoration

Every now and then, I will read through some of the minor prophets. They are designated “minor” because of their short length, but they contain so many large nuggets of gospel truth. Granted, some passages are hard to relate to or understand but there are diamonds to be found. For example, I recently read the following in Zephaniah.

“The seacoast shall become the possession of the remnant of the house of Judah, on which they shall graze, and in the houses of Ashkelon they shall lie down at evening. For the Lord their God will be mindful of them and restore their fortunes.” (Zephaniah 2:7)

This passage is hidden within prophecies of coming judgment on Israel and the nations. Yet in the midst of this judgment comes the promise of restoration. As I meditated on this verse, it became a great prompt for prayer in our current circumstances. 

If we are going to use the verse to pray in the new year, we need to know what this does not mean. This verse is not a promise to all people in all times. In this verse, God is not saying he will restore fortunes of businesses that have been ruined in 2020. God may very well do that, and I pray he does, but this isn’t a verse to promise that. Instead, God is saying he will be faithful to His covenant people (remnant of the house of Judah) even in the worst of circumstances. Specifically, the promise of land, rest, and fortunes for Judah is tied to God’s covenant to establish His people. 

So how should we apply this passage to our prayers? We should pray for God to be mindful of His covenant people (the church) and restore their fortunes (ministries and missions). Use the prompts below for more specific ways to pray. In each case, pray for Immanuel and at least one other church you know.

  • Ministry was very difficult in 2020. Pray for vital ministries such as small groups and outreach to be restored in 2021. 
  • Worship services were reduced to less than 50% of normal capacity. Pray for God to bring people back to gathered worship when it is safe to do so.
  • Many church budgets were negatively affected in 2020. Pray for God to provide what is needed for churches to remain on mission. Immanuel needs prayer in this area, though we were not hit as hard as other congregations.
  • Other ministries that relied on donations were negatively affected as well. Pray for God to restore the resources they need to provide for others.

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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