Do you pray for your church? Compared to other items on your prayer list, how much time do you take to pray for your church? Jesus established the Church (all believers) as the way to spread His message. Practically, this means millions of churches (local congregations) all over the world spreading His Word and sharing His love.
Why Praying for Your Church is Important
As the church spreads the gospel to the lost, the enemy becomes more and more enraged. So what happens? The enemy and his helpers do everything they can to stop the church from being effective. This may take the form of heresy, division, gossip, laziness, pride, or anything else that distracts from the work Jesus left the church to do. This is also why praying for your church is so important.
Many believers in the United States – especially in the Bible belt of the South – take their churches for granted. The church is a place of worship and fellowship, a family to many, and the source of emotional and practical help during difficult seasons in life. The church not only shares the gospel message, but it also trains both new and old believers in God’s truth.
But, as important as the church is to believers, many of them never pray for their church. I know that I didn’t for years. Then God moved my family to a church that really prayed! I learned a lot there, including this lesson: pray for your church. Praying for your church means not just for the pastor and leadership team, but also for the congregation, vision, ministry, facilities, and testimony of the church among other things.
Prayer Makes Your Church Shine
As the culture around us becomes more anti-Christian, we need to be more faithful in upholding our churches as beacons of light in a dark age (Romans 2:19). The need for the church and the truth will become greater and will be more opposed. Pray faithfully for your church to carry out the mission it has been entrusted with, no matter the opposition.
Before getting to the list of what to pray for your church, I want to remind you that more than half the New Testament was written to churches – not individual believers! The letters of Paul, Peter, and John were read aloud in churches. The gospels were shared in churches. The mission was given to churches.
There were no buildings, there were no budgets, there was no political pull. All they had was the Word of God and the Spirit of God. And those churches turned the world of their day on its head (Acts 17:6)! Pray for your church to do the same!
Pray for Your Church:
- Pray that your church will have a positive testimony in the community. Especially in this culture of thinly-veiled distaste towards all aspects of Christian faith, a clean testimony in the community is important. Be known for compassion, love, and grace, instead of protests, criticism, and hypocrisy. John 3:21; 1 John 4:7, 19
- Pray that each Sunday the Lord will lead the right seekers to your church. Pray that they will be ministered to effectively and loved abundantly. Acts 2:41; 16:14
- Pray that the congregation will enthusiastically accept the vision of the leadership. Pray that the necessary will be done so that vision will be accomplished. 1 Timothy 5:17
- Pray for strong marriages and families. As the family is the basic building block of society, so it is also of the church. Without strong marriages and families, there will not be a strong church. Ephesian 5:22 – 6:4
- Pray for an evangelistic spirit to pervade the members of the church. Pray that each week members of your church will have clear opportunities to build relationships and share the message of Jesus. Acts 2:46-47
- Pray for generosity. In many churches, a small percentage of attendees provide the largest amount of funds for the business of ministry. Pray that your church will break this pattern and that the majority will be cheerful givers. 2 Corinthians 8:7-9; 9:7
- Pray for volunteers. Pray that there will be enough volunteers to cover all the ministries of the church. Pray that volunteers will not be stretched thin and burned-out on serving, but will maintain a balance between serving and being served. Acts 6:3-7
- Pray for those who lead in musical worship. Pray especially that their preparation time will be a time of worship for them personally as they seek the leading of the Holy Spirit, and that the worship service will not be a ‘show,’ but will be an offering of praise. Psalm 150
- Pray for the youth of the church. They will need strong roots of faith to maintain a positive witness throughout high school and into college/career. Pray that their leaders will have the necessary wisdom to teach and lead in the 21st century in a way that connects with teens and attracts more. 1 Timothy 4:12
- Pray for a spirit of unity in the church. Too many churches are divided over personalities, style of worship, minor issues of personal preference, and other non-Biblical concerns. Pray that this spirit of division will not pervade your church, but that yours will be a church known for its peace and unity. Philippians 4:2-3
- Pray for cooperation in the community among theologically like-minded churches. As barriers – denominational, racial, ethnic, class – come down the Church as a whole can accomplish more than any church can do on its own. Philippians 1:18
- Pray for the children of the church. Pray that those who teach and care for them will do so with love and patience so that parents are free to serve and worship as the Lord leads. Pray that as those children grow up in church, they will grow strong in faith, coming to know Jesus as Savior and Lord early in their life. Pray that they will continue the faithful testimony of the church as they become the adults and parents of the next generation. Mark 10:14
- Pray for a vision for missions. A Jesus-focused church will take seriously the ‘go into all the world’ command that He gave, and will endeavor to be a part of the going, sending, and supporting of missionaries. Matthew 28:19-20
- Pray for the business of the church. Although we like to think that ministries are exempt from such mundane affairs as paying the utility bills, abiding by local building codes, and maintaining financial integrity, these are important aspects of the church and must be accomplished in the right manner and time. Pray for those (often trustees) who are entrusted with the oversight of such matters, that they will be faithful to fulfill all business matters in a timely way. Acts 11:26; 2 Corinthians 1:12
- Pray for small group leaders, usually volunteers, whether they are called deacons, Sunday School leaders, Life Group leaders, or something else. These faithful men and women are entrusted with the task of helping other believers grow into a full measure of maturity. Pray that they will be strong in their own faith, and able to be sensitive and discerning when leading others. Hebrews 13:17
- Pray for special ministries of the church. This may change with the season of the year (for example, Christmas programs, Easter programs), the needs of the church (for example, an influx of immigrants, a large population of college-age believers and seekers, or special needs children), or the needs of the community (for example, when a racially charged incident occurs, during times of heightened crime or concern about violence, or during natural disasters). These special needs of the church and the community it serves should not be overlooked in your prayer life. Ecclesiastes 3:1
- Pray for church leadership. If you are confused about how to pray, see 20 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor and adapt it to your paid and unpaid leadership. Pray that the leadership of the church will always be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 13:17
- Pray for the physical buildings and grounds to be properly maintained and cared for. Pray that God will prevent problems such as with air conditioning or paint peeling that would cost money that could be used for outreach. Pray also for any planned or anticipated building projects, that sufficient funds would be available, and that any mortgages on the property would be paid off quickly. 1 Corinthians 4:2
- Pray for a spirit of understanding. The church is not a place for perfect people, and because of that mistakes will be made, and people’s feelings will get hurt. Pray that these universal problems of humanity will not cause members of the church to look down on some while elevating others. But that all will realize and accept that everyone there is a sinner – some saved by faith and some that the Lord is still wooing. Philippians 2:1-4
- Pray that visitors to the church will have a positive first experience, from the parking lot to the invitation, and come back for more. Pray that the Lord will grow His church by bringing to it the people that He wants to serve in that location – people of all ages, races, and classes. We are all one in Christ. Acts 2:47
As with the entire 20 ways to pray series, this list is available in PDF form in the Resource Library. I hope and pray that this encouragement to pray for your church will bear fruit not only in your prayer life, but in your church, and in your service to and through your church.