Prayer Series: Travailing for the Ekklesia

Prayer Series: Travailing for the Ekklesia July 22, 2019

Help us to mobilize for You.  Help us to catch a vision of what You have for us, the Kingdom of God in action in Traverse City.

In the prayer series this week I’m going to be sharing just a little bit of raw, emotional prayer.[1]  I call it Travailing for the Ekklesia.  This is just something that I shared with my congregation in a moment as I prayed for our city.

Travailing for the Ekklesia

Historical snapshot of the ekklesia

A couple church historians Dale Irvin and Scott Sunquist report on the Early Church:

In each city where the message of Jesus found a hearing, followers, both Jews and Gentiles, gathered in what the New Testament called the ekklesia, a Greek word meaning “those called out” or “assembly.”  These gatherings took place in local households, connected to one another through their leadership networks to form city-wide communities.[2]

We think of a city like Traverse City and every denomination imaginable probably has a foothold somewhere in this city.  However, the Early Church didn’t think that way.  There was a clear chain of command.  Clearly the Apostles and those at Jerusalem acted like a denominational covering.  They were empowering local cities.

Imagine a city where all the churches networked, where house groups and fellowships worked together for the Kingdom of God.  Think of an entire region working together in the harvest.  That’s what we saw in the New Testament and in church history, the ekklesia transforming society.

Call to reimagine church

I don’t always write something like this down.  I try to follow an outline, but some of these thoughts just flowed.  Think about the church as an active arm of the Kingdom of God.

Church is not merely a fellowship that meets a couple times a week.  It’s not a social club.  Church is not a place where we take a couple hours a week, sing together, hear an expert deliver a sermon, and then head for the local buffet.  Church is not a “get-together,” not a worship service, or not even a building.

As a shepherd, I have to look myself in the face every day and ask “Why are we even gathering if all we’re going to do is be a social club?  Why are we even doing this?”  More than that, God’s going to ask me that when I stand before Him as a shepherd.  “Why were you gathering?”

Church is a gathering of Kingdom citizens, a base of operations, an enterprise, and a movement.  As those of us in Christ’s ekklesia gather together, we become the headquarters of a Kingdom that is breaking into our local society, advancing against the enemy, and taking back territory from the realm of darkness.

We are Christians, we’re a group rather than individuals, a mobilized force.  We’re the ekklesia, the community of faith.  We are the chief agency of the Kingdom of God or we are nothing.

Travailing prayer

Paul says for the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink.  It’s not these “get-togethers.”  He says it’s righteousness.  It’s peace and it’s joy in the Holy Ghost (see Romans 14.17).

We bind together as a body and we are governed by the Holy Spirit.  This is something that has changed me and there is no shame in saying the God transformed the way I view church.

Help us to mobilize for You.  Help us to catch a vision of what You have for us, the Kingdom of God in action in Traverse City.

Let’s seek His heart just like the ekklesia would seek the heart of the king.

Hallelujah, Lord not our ways but Your ways.  Oh God, not my will but Your will.  Have Your way.  Help us to implement Your will, Your focus here on earth.

Help us to see this city as you see this city.


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[1] adapted from JVI, “Foundations of the Spirit-Filled Community: The Church is the Kingdom of God,” Mt Zion FWC, Traverse City, MI.

Prayer Series:

Vernell Ingle: Blessing on this House

Continue to Transform Us

Peters’ Confession of Christ

John Wesley in relation to Ephesians 4.11-12

Look to the Cross

[2] Dale T. Irvin and Scott W. Sunquist, Earliest Christianity to 1453, vol. 1 of History of the World Christian Movement (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009), 66-67.

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