Moments in Prayer 2023
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is… Goodness…” (Galatians 5:22)
“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
“The LORD is Good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” (Nahum 1:7)
“For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.” (Ephesians 5:9)
For this reason, make every effort ot add to your faith goodness…” (2 Peter 1:5)
Our July prayer focus is on prayers for the Holy Spirit to fill us with Goodness. This is the sixth quality in the fruit of the Spirit list we find in Galatians 5.
In 2023, ONMB pastors have been working through Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer’s book entitled A Church Called Tov. Tov is the Hebrew word for “good” or “goodness.” When God created the heavens and the earth, he called it good – tov. “Tov suggests what is visually pleasing and pleasant, what is desirable, what is of high quality and what is excellent” (88). Barringer and McKnight proceed to define being tov as “to be a person who from the inside out consistently does what is good and generous” (90).
A person or church of goodness always puts the care and honour of others first, ahead of efficiency, metrics or institution building. We want to be a people of goodness! We know that ultimately it is an experience of goodness that draws people to a life-long, abiding life in Christ. But it is easy for churches and leaders to sacrifice goodness on the altar of ministry success.
The past number of years have felt like a constant barrage of sad news stories in the broader church culture about fallen leaders who have abused power. While increased media attention magnifies this reality, it is not a new story. Our hearts yearn, “Oh God! Pour out your goodness upon us. Replace these filthy rags of using people as a means toward an end.” No doubt, we have our own stories of power being used in harmful ways for the sake of building ministry success.
As we pursue goodness in ourselves and in our churches, it is critical to remember that we can’t create this on our own. It is the Holy Spirit who forms it in us and in our church families. We are not called to fashion the fruit of the Spirit by our own efforts. Rather we are called to tend to the tree that produces the fruit, which is our life in the Spirit, keeping in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25).
And so, we turn to the Holy Spirit and invite Him to form the fruit of goodness in our lives.
- In what ways have you experienced God’s goodness in your church family? Spend time worshipping God by thanking God for this goodness.
- Spend time expressing to God grief over times when the church has not demonstrated God’s goodness.
- In what areas of your life could you use a new dose of God’s goodness?
- How might you make every effort to add goodness to your faith? (cf. 2 Peter 1:5)
Pray words of invitation and welcome the Holy Spirit for your own heart:
- Welcome Holy Spirit! Come and fill me today with your goodness!
- Thank you that you are always good. Thank you that all you’ve created is good.
- Welcome Holy Spirit! I want to walk in step with you. Please form in me a persistent desire for goodness. I want to love what You love and be troubled by what You’re troubled by.
Pray words of invitation and welcome for the church:
- Welcome Holy Spirit! Please reveal where we’ve opted to pursue ministry success in ways that have abandoned your goodness. Grant us a spirit of dependence and draw us to repentance.
- We ask that you draw us into greater collective dependence upon you. May we sit in your presence. May we walk in step with you. May a life with you always precede our efforts, so that your goodness would flow to us and through us.
- Welcome Holy Spirit! May the watching world know us as a people where goodness is found.
Ryan Jantzi is the Interim Executive Director with the Ontario Conference of MB Churches. He lives in Wellesley, Ontario with Brittany and their four kids. They are a part of Maple View Mennonite Church and are also entering a new Missional Community expression of disciple-making.