God in his graciousness and love provides a way for us to come before him and communicate with him. This is done through prayer.
God in his graciousness and love provides a way for us to come before him and communicate with him. This is done through prayer. God also invites us to bring the desires of our hearts, the laments that break our hearts, and the requests that we have about the needs and wants in our lives.
Thankfully, God in his infinite wisdom, doesn’t answer all of our selfish and self-focussed prayers—prayers where we want God to follow our will. We can far too easily try to manipulate God praying “not your will but my will be done” rather than praying the words of Jesus, “not my will but yours be done.”
But, the prayer that God loves to answer is the prayer where we long to be like Christ, both individually and together. As people who are vastly different from one another, we have disagreements on many things. And, if we’re honest, we even disagree with ourselves sometimes. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)
A prayer that we can pray together is that we become more and more like Christ. In the simplest form, we’re praying that God will work in us on our journey of longing to be like Christ. Throughout this 40 days of prayer initiative, we’ll ask God to move among us. We’ll confess ways that we’re resistant to being like Christ. We’ll take time to listen deeply and to consider how we can lean into the life of Jesus Christ together. This season of prayer invites us to focus on being like Christ and being attentive to the Holy Spirit.;
And so, as we gather for Synod 2023—which has Longing to be Like Christ as its theme—our prayer is that of Philippians 2:15 that we are/have the:
same attitude as Christ:
united with Christ
comfort from his love
fellowship with the Spirit
tenderness and compassion
like-minded, same love, one in spirit and purpose
do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit
look to the interests of others
taking the very nature of a servant
In order to support the work of synod in prayer, there are a number of prayer initiatives leading up to and during Synod 2023.
40 Days of Prayer for Synod 2023
All members of the CRCNA are invited to join others across North America in 40 days of prayer.
Each day, readers will receive a Bible text, a prayer, and some suggested questions for reflection or conversation. All of the prayers are intended to reflect the theme of Synod 2023: Longing to be Like Christ, which is based on Philippians 2:1-11, summarized by verse 5: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
The 40 days of prayer will begin on April 30 and will conclude when Synod 2023 begins on June 8. Here’s a Banner and a CRC Network article introducing the 40 Days of Prayer. You can sign up here to receive either a daily email or a weekly PDF.
There’ll be three opportunities for synodical delegates to join for a virtual time of prayer on April 19,May 10, and May 31 from 8 - 9 p.m. EST. A prayer guide for each of the days is linked to the dates. If you’re looking for prayer points to pray on your own, use these prayer guides.
Prayer Opportunities During Synod
During synod, an emphasis on prayer will continue with focused times of prayer by delegates and morning prayers with those who are interested.
For those who’d like to pray but aren’t at synod, there’ll be opportunities to sign up for half hour prayer time slots each day with a provided prayer guide. There’ll also be an opportunity for prayer each day on social media via Facebook.