Do you know what to pray for your church? We pray lots of things don’t we, some good biblically grounded prayers, others a bit more vacuous. We’ve just finished a series in 1 Timothy and I was really struck by the 5 words he closes the letter with, it’s not a throw away line, it’s not a nice sounding ending. It’s his prayer for them; “Grace be with you all.”
The more I’ve thought about it the more I think that simple prayer encapsulates the letter he has written to Timothy. It’s a prayer not just for the abstract idea of grace to be with them but for Jesus who is grace embodied to be increasingly in their midst. It is a prayer for the culture of the church to become one where grace is with and active and transforming them all. It’s a prayer for Timothy’s teaching to be grace all the way through. It’s a prayer for grace in the way he exhorts the various groups within the church. It’s a prayer for grace to nourish Timothy as he feeds on God’s word and on healthy teaching so he can keep on sharing that with the church and feeing them on it even as he combats the false teaching.
It’s a prayer for grace to transform the relationships within the church between those currently at war. It’s a prayer for the church culture to become one where grace is both the melodic line and the first reaction. It’s a prayer for grace to be the thing the world of Ephesus looks at the church and sees in the way it treats one another and the outsider.
I think that’s a prayer we can echo; “Grace be with you all.”