A prayer for the church

There’s a season in the life of the Christian church called Lent. It starts today, and marks a period leading up to Easter when Christians intentionally reflect on their life before God and what He may be calling us to give up or take up. As one who leads a local church, I often find myself reflecting too on what I pray for my church.

The Bible is full of prayers Jesus and others prayed for God’s people. They’re helpful to reflect on. If you know me, or have grown to know me through this blog, then you’ll also likely know that the things which help me encounter God are as much found outside the fold of what some may consider ‘usual’, as they are the standard bread and water of the Christian life (Bible, prayer, worship, fellowship). So here it is.

In a moment. But first – what are the prayers you find yourself praying for church, others, yourself? What are they influenced by? This Lent might you look in the unusual as well as the usual places for inspiration?

So. The prayer I pray for the church I lead is inspired by the words of a song by the man who I’ve heard called America’s greatest living theologian. His music is amongst the most misunderstood in history, I think. So often his work has been appropriated and used in causes which might turn the author’s stomach. So I hope he doesn’t mind me appropriating one of his newest songs to my own ends.

I can’t find an official video for the song, so click here for a fan made video … ignore the images, just listen.

Or you can read the lyrics below. The artist is Bruce Springsteen, the song Land Of Hope Dreams from his 2012 album Wrecking Ball. Or as I call it, a prayer for the church.

Grab your ticket and your suitcase, thunder’s rolling down this track
Well, you don’t know where you’re going now, but you know you won’t be back
Well, darling, if you’re weary, lay your head upon my chest
We’ll take what we can carry, yeah, and we’ll leave the rest

Well, big wheels roll through the fields where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

I will provide for you and I’ll stand by your side
You’ll need a good companion now for this part of the ride
Yeah, leave behind your sorrows, let this day be the last
Well, tomorrow there’ll be sunshine and all this darkness past

Well, big wheels roll through fields where sunlight streams
Oh, meet me in a land of hope and dreams

Well, this train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls

I said, this train, dreams will not be thwarted
This train, faith will be rewarded
This train, hear the steel wheels singing
This train, bells of freedom ringing

[Clarence Clemons sax solo]

Yes, this train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls

I said, this train carries broken-hearted
This train, thieves and sweet souls departed
This train carries fools and kings thrown
This train, all aboard

I said, now this train, dreams will not be thwarted
This train, faith will be rewarded
This train, the steel wheels singing
This train, bells of freedom ringing

Come on this train
People get ready
You don’t need no ticket
Oh, you gotta do this
Just get onboard
Onboard this train (this train, now)
People get ready
You don’t need no ticket (oh now, no you don’t)
You don’t need no ticket
You just get onboard (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)
(Come on this train, people get ready)

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