A Prayer For the PCA General Assembly

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to provide a prayer guide for our upcoming General Assembly.  This is based off of one that was produced by ByFaith magazine in 2017, and updated for this year’s assembly.  Please keep the Church in your prayers.

46th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America
June 25-28, 2019
Dallas, TX

General Prayers

Pray that the Commissioners will have an ear only to the Word of Christ, as delivered in the Scriptures, as the rule for settling all substantial matters before the General Assembly (GA); that they will exercise prudence and good sense in all matters merely circumstantial; and that they will have the wisdom to so distinguish among the matters before the GA.

Pray also that the Commissioners will engage in debate with a sense of fair play, integrity and charity, and that they will be so moved by the Spirit of God, as to put aside selfishness, pride or party spirit, in order to glorify Christ in His Church and edify His people; pray that in times of work, worship & fellowship, the bonds of love & unity among our Elders would be strengthened; pray that Pastors who come in discouragement would be heartened & encouraged to be faithful in their labor.

Pray for the Moderator (and his assistants); the Stated Clerk; the Parliamentarians; and the office staff.

Pray that there would be a closer balance of Ruling and Teaching Elder, and for the Elders’ faithful participation in the work of the Assembly.

Through the Week


Pray that all Commissioners would arrive safely, well rested and read for the week to come.

Before the Assembly begins, the Overtures Committee and the Committees of Commissioners meet to frame their recommendations on all the business coming before the Assembly: pray for the wisdom and knowledge of God to guide these men in their deliberations.


Committees of Commissioners continue in the morning.

The Opening worship service begins after lunch. Pray for the Lord’s blessing upon the means of grace, particularly the moderator’s closing address.

Following worship, the first business session convenes. Pray for the election of the new moderator: that he would be a man of godly wisdom, grave, compassionate, patient, and charitable as he leads the Assembly through the week.

Report of Stated Clerk—give thanks for the continued growth of the PCA evidenced in the Clerk’s statistical report; pray that the revised docket arrangement, joining committee & agency information reports with their committee of commissioner reports, will continue to lead to greater efficiency and edification.

Report of Committee on Interchurch Relations—pray for the members of the permanent committee; for delegates from other denominations who will address the Assembly; pray especially for a Reformed & Presbyterian unity throughout the world that does not violate the Church’s calling to be a pillar and support of the truth.

Report of Committee on Presbytery Records—give thanks for the committee members who regularly undertake the challenging task of reviewing all presbytery records for Constitutional conformity; pray that the commissioners will consider with care this very important part of the Assembly’s oversight responsibility.

Pray for the the Nominating Committee as they meet Wednesday evening to prepare the slate of nominees for Assembly permanent committees.


Report of Cooperative Ministries Committee—pray for the members of this committee as they seek to foster cooperative ministry among GA Committees and Agencies and provide a forum for resolving issues of inter-agency conflict.

Report of Committee on Constitutional Business—pray for the Committee, that they advise accurately and wisely on any disputed questions during the Assembly.

Report of Theological Examining Committee—pray for care & faithfulness in their work of examining GA-nominated officers.

Report of Committee on PCA Retirements and Benefits, Inc.—pray that they be wise stewards of the various insurance plans they administer, as well as of the investments made on behalf of the PCA; and pray for the prosperity of the retired ministers and widows relief fund.

Report of the Committee on Reformed University Ministries—pray for the RUF leaders and ministers in 145 colleges and universities across the Unites States.

Report of Committee on Covenant Theological Seminary—pray for the Seminary, its President; and for the continued faithfulness of the faculty, the Board of Trustees & the students.

Report of Committee on Covenant College—pray for the College, its President; for the faculty, the Board of Trustees & the students.

Report of Standing Judicial Commission—pray for the members of the SJC, that they would have a love for justice in the administration of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and for the glory of the Lord & the upbuilding of the Body; that the parties involved will receive the decision of the Court with humility & grace, that there will be repentance where there is sin, understanding where there is hardness of heart, and restoration among brothers & sisters who are divided.

Report of Committee on Ridge Haven—pray for the board of directors and the new camping season, especially that the children attending would come to know Christ or be further nourished in their faith.

Report of Committee on Discipleship Ministries—pray for the staff and the permanent committee; for an increase in contributions toward the Committee’s calling; and pray for the work of discipleship across our denomination.

Report of Committee on Mission to the World—give thanks for and pray on behalf of the MTW staff and the permanent committee; and pray for our missionaries throughout the world.

Report of Committee on PCA Foundation—pray for the staff and the Board of Directors; for the fruitfulness of their fine work in the management & distribution of assets for the cause of Christ; and for faithful stewardship across the PCA.

Report of Committee on Mission to North America—pray for the MNA staff, and the members of the permanent committee; for capable men to plant churches; for the work of church planting, particularly among people from other cultures; and for PCA Chaplains.

Report of Administrative Committee—pray for Dr. Roy Taylor (Stated Clerk), the staff, and the permanent committee; pray for good stewardship in the approval of the budgets.

Report of Overtures Committee—Pending are 11 Overtures that address the issues of Human Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, and Sexual Identity (some dealing directly with the Revoice Conference – see here for more information); there are 9 overtures calling for a study committee on Domestic Abuse; 7 overtures calling for a change in our constitution that would allow for non-ordained persons to serve on Boards of the Church; 2 Overtures regarding the Church’s teaching on abortion; and numerous overtures that seek to clarify the constitution, or make subtle changes in the Rules of Assembly Operations.

Pray for the evening worship service, that the unity of the body may be expressed in devotion to the word and the fellowship.


If necessary, the Assembly will reconvene in the morning for additional business with worship.

When the Assembly is adjourned, pray for a safe journey home for all, and for God’s favor in blessing that work which is according to His Word, and for His leading to see and correct that which is not.

Various Readings this Week
Pastoring and the Art of Balance– an interesting article on the work of Pastoral Ministry.
The Authority of the Deacon– the Deacon and Church Power. This is the third in a series from the Gospel Reformation Network on the role of the Deacon. The entire series is worth reading.

Why Dad Jokes Will Never Go Out of Style (because they were never in it) – This article justifies my sense of humor – or at least tries.

Update from General Assembly

As I logged into my blog to write this update, I realized my last post was from back in April.  My apologies! I know I have had several new subscribers to the blog and no new content.  All I can say is I hope to do better, but life has been a whirlwind as of late.

The 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America is officially concluded, and early at that, so as I have an entire day in the airport waiting for my flight home, I thought I’d give you an update on the events of GA.  In a nutshell I’ll say this: This General Assembly is why I joined the PCA!  The worship was God-centered, the preaching Biblical, informative, Spirit-filled, and convicting, the deliberation passionate yet collegial, and the results were encouraging.  My first two experiences at General Assembly left me frustrated and dismayed, but this year there seemed to be a different attitude among the commissioners, and I believe God was glorified in the work of His church.

The greatest concern of this Assembly was the very low turn out of Ruling Elders.  In a congregation that was established with the understanding of a plurality of elders, a shared authority of Ruling and Teaching Elders, there is not a staggering disparity in the Assembly.  There were 1,400 commissioners this year, but only 300 were Ruling Elders.  We need to pray and work for a way to include more Ruling Elder in the Assembly in coming years.

The biggest and most profound outcome of the Assembly is the decision to give a portion of the Directory of Worship’s instruction on Marriage full constitutional status.  In case you are unfamiliar with the government of the PCA, our Book of Church Order includes a Directory of Worship, that is given as an “approved guide” but without the force of law (except for the chapters on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper).  Leading up to the Assembly, there were several overtures to give the chapter on marriage full constitutional authority. Their reasoning was, among other items, 1) in a culture that is currently redefining marriage, the church needs a clear, constitutional definition of marriage, and 2) giving constitutional status to the chapter on marriage would provide clarity and protection for our military chaplains.

As is our procedure with all overtures, these overtures were sent to the Overtures Committee who for review and recommendations to the Assembly.  Surprisingly, the committee recommended that the Assembly answer in the negative, essentially denying the changes.  Now please understand, this would not have meant that the PCA was changing it’s position on marriage, only that the chapter on marriage would not be given full constitutional authority.  Again, there were a variety of reasons why they recommended answering in the negative, most having to do with the finer details in procedures and records of marriage in the chapter, none having to do with the actual definition of marriage.

When the Committee presented their report and recommendation to the Assembly, there was also a minority report, that sought to refine the original overtures. What came out on the floor, then, was the reality that there was a third way.  The Assembly recommitted the overture to the committee, who then met and came back with the following recommended overture:

“Marriage is only to be between one man and one woman (Gen 2:24, 25; Matt 19:4-6; 1 Cor 7:2), in accordance with the Word of God. Therefore ministers in the Presbyterian Church in America who solemnize marriages shall only solemnize marriages between one man and one woman.”

This paragraph was approved by the Assembly and given full constitutional status.  The vote was an overwhelming 764-12.  The next step will be for all of the Presbyteries to vote on this overture, and if it passes a supermajority of Presbyteries, it will be voted upon again at the next Assembly.  This is really good news!

In other business, there were several overtures that sought to give organizations in the PCA, such as RidgeHaven, Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary and others, the ability to open a minority of seats on their boards of directors to unordained men and women.  Currently, those boards are comprised of Teaching and Ruling Elders or Deacons of the Church, and are seen as extensions of the Church in ministry.  These overtures were an avenue to allowing women to serve in official capacities on the Boards.  While it was made clear that there are many ways that women give advice and counsel to these boards, the church maintains that these ministries are extensions of the Church, and as such, under the leadership of ordained officers of the Church.  The committee recommended the overtures be answer in the negative, and the Assembly agreed.

The other major discussion on the floor of the Assembly had to do with the review of Presbytery records, particularly one Presbytery that had examined a minister, heard his differences with the Westminster Standards, ruled that his differences did not “strike to the heart of the religion,” but then ruled that, while he could hold his views, he was not allowed to teach them.  While I cannot say that I understand the full ramifications of the action or discussion, I did find it concerning that the Assembly would seek to make a judicial ruling on an action of a Presbytery without any process. In the end, the Committee of Review received their minutes with an exception on this matter, which requires the Presbytery to give a response explaining their decision.

Overall, it was a very encouraging week in Atlanta.  New friendships were formed, and old ones renewed.  I was particularly moved by the worship service on Thursday evening and the preaching of Joe Novenson, I’ll be ordering a copy for those who are interested in checking out and listening to it. I thank you for your prayers, especially those of my congregation who have graciously provided me the opportunity to attend and be a part of such a great experience in the Church.

Pray for a safe flight home!

Grace and Peace