Prayer for elders

A communion prayer is a reflective time when sitting at the table to invite all to share in the Banquet of Life. Bread and drink is shared just as that Jesus performed at the Last Supper with His apostles. Here is a look at some great communion prayers for elders to inspire you.

Prayer #1

I come to your table. Your painful sacrifice is on my mind. I look at the communion cracker. I see piercing. I see bruising. I see the brutality of the punishment that you endured for me. I see your everlasting love.

I gaze at the blood of redemption. I see your crimson mercy shimmering in this cup. I see your life being poured out for me. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.

In Jesus’ Name we celebrate this communion.

Amen.

Prayer #2

I come to your table to partake of intimate communion with you. I look at the bread. I see your suffering. I see the bruising, the stripes, and the piercing. Yet, the piercing of your body is nothing in comparison to the piercing of your heart. You made the ultimate sacrifice so that I could have everything I need to be right with you.

I look at the cup. This is the blood that oozed out of you as you suffered on the cross. Blood flowed out of your thorn-torn head as you not only bowed your human head but your mind, will, and emotions as well. I now bow my mind, will, and emotions to your will as I drink this cup.

Amen.

Prayer #3

Crucified God, we wear beautiful crosses around our necks, and hang them on our walls. We have made your “triumphant sign” of suffering decorative, when what it really needs to be is defining. So make us cruciform Lord, in our weekly remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross in our breaking of this bread.

Let us show by the offering of our hearts and hands the depth of our commitment to live for him who died for us.

In lives of sacrifice and service, empower our witness to Jesus Christ, whose cross so powerfully proclaims your love.

Amen.

Prayer #4

In lifting this cup of remembrance here this morning Oh God of sacrifice, we are lifting high the cross of Christ and proclaiming your great love. We partake, with gratitude, all the gifts that ours in Christ crucified – new life, real unity, eternal life, and a meaningful purpose.

Fill us now again with the power of your spirit that we might be bold in our witness to Jesus Christ,“till all the world adores his sacred name”.

Amen.

Prayer #5

Sweet Jesus, thank You for everything You have bestowed upon me. You have sacrificed Your life to save all of mankind from our sins. You have generously shared with us Your life when You could have chosen not to. Forgive me for the sins I have done against You and for the ones I will be making.

I promise that I will be a better person for you and for others. Bless the hands of the hard working, the hearts of the loving and the souls of those who help.

In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer #6

Dear God, I come to You today to praise and glorify Your name. You have showered us with wonderful gifts. The best gift of all is giving Your son to save us from our sins.

There is no worse grief for a father than to lose his son. You have been unselfish and very giving even to those who have turned their backs on You. I pray that they come back to Your welcoming arms. I dedicate this prayer to those who need someone to call on to when the days get rough and the nights are worst.

Give them the strength and courage to come back to You, Father. Being with Jesus has ultimately changed my life. Let it be for them as well.

In Your glory always, I pray. Amen.

Prayer #7

Lord, as You enter my body, please cleanse me from all my sins.

Teach me to become as pure as You and Your mother Mary. I pray that I become a better person and be kinder to my neighbors. May Your presence in me make me a better person and do whatever is only on Your will.

Thank You for keeping me warm on those cold toasty nights and safe from harm. I pray that all my loved ones live in Your presence and that they always do what is right. I pray for the world to have peace especially in their hearts.

I pray this for Your glory, Lord. Amen.

Here is just one example of a communion prayer as it is given by an elder at the Church of God in Christ.

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Widows were being neglected. That is a big problem, big enough for the apostles to encourage the church to find seven men to address the matter. For themselves, however, the apostles were adamant: they would devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:1-6).

Assuming the apostles’ example is instructive for elders, we can say that prayer is one of the main duties of an elder. Unfortunately, just like prayer is often neglected in our personal devotions, it’s too often neglected in the life of an elder and in the business of elder’s meetings.

When the elders gather to shepherd the church, shouldn’t a major part of the meeting be spent in prayer? After all, deacons should be laboring on other matters to free the elders to pray. Certainly, elders come together to make decisions, but shouldn’t those decisions be soaked in prayer? As elders often deal with difficult cases, shouldn’t we pray for wisdom before acting? In short, prayer should be a primary part of any elders’ meeting.

But what should we pray for, and how should we pray? Here are 7 categories to pray for at elders’ meetings, accompanied by a brief description of how to pray.

1. Pray for humility and wisdom.

Begin your meeting by praying for humility and wisdom. This will set the tone and remind every elder there that Christ is the chief shepherd, and elders are merely under shepherds (1 Peter 5:4, Acts 20:28). James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Begin meetings by obeying this command and asking God for wisdom on all the matters on your agenda.

2. Pray through a passage of Scripture.

Prayer should be biblically informed. Thankfully, we have countless examples of saints praying in the Bible. We also have lots of instructions from Paul’s letters on what to pray for. And who could forget the Psalms?

We can reliably take any portion of Scripture and use it to guide our prayers. To help root the meeting in Scripture and to provide a guide for what and how to pray throughout the meeting, consider reading the Bible together as you begin, and choose a few brothers to praise God for something they see in the text.

In our meetings, we read the passage that will be preached on the following Sunday. Meditating on who God is and what he has done also helps reinforce that the meeting is about God’s church, not ours.

3. Pray for each other.

In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul tells Timothy: “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” Galatians 6:9 implores us to “not grow weary of doing good.” James 3:1 says, “We who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” In 2 Corinthians 3:5–6, we’re reminded that “we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant.”

These and many other verses remind us that elders need prayer, too, if we are going to persevere in our labors as undershepherds. Again, at the beginning of the meeting, consider having a few elders share briefly about how things are going in their life and ministry and then choosing a few others to pray for them. This practice encourages elders to care for each other by not bearing the burden of the office alone. It also helps to foster awareness, unity, and sympathy.

4. Pray for deacons, staff, and supported workers.

Recently, our elders started inviting one deacon or staff member to share about their role in the church and to request prayer. When supported workers are in town or others who have been sent out come back to visit, we often take time to hear from and pray for them during an elder’s meeting.

This practice has multiple benefits. The person prayed for is encouraged, and the elders are more informed about that person’s ministry. If you’re systematic about it, each area of the church’s life can be heard and prayed for in a year or so.

5. Pray for the sick.

James 5:14 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” As the need arises, invite sick members to meetings (or go to them), lay hands on them, and pray for them. Invite and pray for those with cancer, chronic pain, and other sicknesses.

6. Pray for church members by name.

Set aside a significant portion of your meeting to pray for the members of your church. We usually pray for about 30 members by name per meeting, working our way through our church’s directory. We contact the individuals or couples we plan to pray for several days beforehand in an effort to solicit specific prayer requests. These requests go into a master document that the elders use as a prayer guide during our meeting. With this prayer guide in front of us, and the Scripture passage we read earlier on our minds, our elders prays through these names.

We also have a section on our agenda to pray for members who are in need of extra attention and care. We call this our “care list,” which is a list of members who are going through extremely difficult circumstances or are dealing with significant sin. After reviewing and talking through the list, we usually assign a few brothers to pray for the individuals on the list—that God would allow those struggling to persevere and those in sin to repent.

7. Pray spontaneously as needed.

Often, we don’t know what other prayer needs may arise until we get into the throes of a meeting. So we must be willing to pray spontaneously as needed. If an unexpected decision before the board is unclear, pray for wisdom. If a contentious issue has brothers upset, pray for humility and unity. I can’t think of a situation where it wouldn’t be wise to just stop and ask God for help—and if we’re honest, these situations occur often.

So, fellow elders, when we meet together, let us do the job the Lord has given us. Let us praise God, seek wisdom, ask for help, and intercede for others in prayer.

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