A Prayer for Unity in Our Church Family
Psalm 133, I Corinthians 13
Reflections of the Heart:
“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”
I Corinthians 1:10
Our Father, we thank You for our Church Family. Thank You for calling each of us to serve Your Kingdom through this wonderful church. Thank You for using our individual gifts and talents to manifest Your Kingdom here on earth as it already is in heaven. Lord, we are thankful for the freedom to worship You, our God. Thank You for Your bountiful blessings. Thank You for increasing Your presence, power, anointing, and abundance in our Church Family. You are great and greatly to be praised. You are to be feared above all gods. The earth is Yours and everything in it; the world and all its people belong to You. You laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths. Lord, no pagan god is like You! None can do what You do.
Loving Father, we declare that we will love You with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. As a Church Family, we confess that we will love one another, as ourselves. As Your children, we proclaim that we have all put on Christ, like putting on new clothes and we will walk in unity and love with one another. It is because of this love that we exhibit for each other that people will know that we are Your disciples. Your Word tells us that if we love You, we must also love our Christian brothers and sisters, too. Therefore, we declare that we will not look out only for our own interests, but we take an interest in each other’s needs. We declare that we will live in harmony with each other and resist division. We will be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. We declare that as a Church Family we will turn away from evil, and do good; we will search for peace and work to maintain it. We confess that we will encourage and build each other up. Above all things, we decree that we will put on love which is the bond of perfection.
Holy Spirit, show me how I can promote unity within our Church Family today by:
Holy Spirit, we ask You to fill us with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Help us to walk worthy and fully pleasing before You. As a Church Family, help us to be fruitful in every good work and to increase in Your knowledge. Teach us how to live together in unity. Walk us through the steps of rebuilding loving fellowship between us. Help us to continue to obey Your command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” so that we will not self-destruct by backbiting and devouring one another. Give us a willing heart to allow You to guide our lives so that not do what our sinful nature craves. Show our leaders how to mend the broken relationships and restore balance to our Church Family. Please strengthen us and help us to represent Your Kingdom in the earth. Holy Spirit, synchronize the heart of every church member and unify our spirits to receive and submit to the vision for our church. Please empower us to give of our talents, gifts and resources to manifest Kingdom change in our city.
Merciful Father, forgive our many sins. We admit that at times we have sinned against you and against one another. Forgive us for holding onto grudges and for seeking vengeance upon our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Forgive us for leaning toward our own understanding and failing to acknowledge You in all our ways. Forgive those amongst us who are being false witnesses, pouring out lies and sowing discord in our Church family. Forgive those of us who have stood by passively allowing sin and deception to go unaddressed. Forgive us for not heeding the warnings of the Holy Spirit and being hesitant to obey Your commands. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that You have committed). Holy Spirit, remind our Church Family of those they need to forgive and help them to be quick to forgive. Help us to release past and present offenses and to be willing to forgive one another just as God has forgiven us. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to show You names or faces of people that You may need to forgive. As He shows You, say aloud, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in Your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Noble Father, as a Church Family, help us not to yield to temptation; but deliver us from the evil one.
Sovereign King, You are the visible image of the invisible God. You existed before anything was created and You are supreme over all creation. Through You, everything was created in the heavenly realms and on earth. You made the visible as well as invisible things. Thrones, kingdoms, rulers and authorities in the unseen world were all created through You and for You. You existed before anything else and You hold all creation together! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Matthew 6:10, Psalm 96:4, Psalm 24:1-2, Psalm 86:8, Mark 12:30-31, Galatians 3:27, John 13:35, I John 4:21, Philippians 2:4, I Corinthians 1:10, Psalm 34:14, I Thessalonians 5:11, Colossians 3:14, Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 6:19, Matthew 6:13, I Timothy 6:15-16
Today I will trust God to:
One thing I am learning as I get older is just how much I care about and appreciate my church family. My church is very active in helping those in it wherever it can. If you are part of a church then I think you will agree that it is so important to pray for those in your church family. There are many different areas of life that we all go through, some good and some bad, but prayer is always a great thing! Here are 6 prayers you can pray for your church family!
For Our Pastors
Dear Father In Heaven,
I can’t say enough words to thank You for the men you’ve placed in pastoral roles in my church. I pray that You would continue to mold them into the children You have called them to be. Grow their intellect. Empower them to be bold. Give them peace in the midst of difficult sermons to preach. Lead them Father, as they continue to lead the congregation for You! Lord, You are sovereign over all things and I pray that You will open the hearts of this congregation as our leaders lead us in song and sermon. Thank You for them, Father! Amen
Your Close Brothers/Sisters
Thank You for leading me to my church family! I am surrounded by a few extremely close brothers and sisters that I love with my whole heart. I pray that as we get older and closer that we will never lose sight of what brought us together and that was You, Father. I pray that You watch over them and keep them safe, Lord. May we always be accountable to one another and never demean one another but always encourage each other in the times of blessing and of trials. I thank You for my brothers and sisters, Lord! I love You! Amen
Those In Conflict
The church has been the same since its beginning. There have been disputes among believers since the beginning. Paul opposed Peter in Galatia. (Galatians 2:11-14) Paul reminded the church of Philippi to do nothing out of rivalry (Philippians 2:3). There is a reason why You are in charge, Father. We could never keep order in the church without Your presence there. Father, I pray for those in conflict right now that they would not give the devil a foothold in their lives, but that they would come together in Your Name to resolve any conflicts between them. I pray that You will be glorified in everything they do. I pray this in Your Son’s precious Name! Amen
Those Whom Are Ill
Father In Heaven,
I pray for those who are hurting in my church family today. Lord, some have minor health problems while others have some very serious ones. I pray that You will be with them and heal them, Father. You are the Great Physician and I believe in Your power to heal! Lord, please give peace to those who are in the midst of serious health issues. Father, I pray that they turn to You and know that You are right there beside them in their time of crisis. May Your will be done in their lives this day. Amen
The Workers Are Few
Our congregation is struggling so much. The ones who are leading are exhausted because they are being stretched so far. I pray that You will convict others to rise up and help lead. We need more worship leaders, teachers, greeters and other positions to be filled. Lord, so many want to be fed the Word of God but they won’t raise a hand to help carry the flock. I pray that You will bring about a passion in the hearts of those who are sitting by idly knowing that they could be doing something to grow and nurture the church. I pray for strength for the ones that are giving so much to keep the church running. Be with them, Father. Amen
Expanding And Growing
We are in an exciting time in our church! Our family is growing so much and I have seen personally so many things happen for Your glory here! We are at a crossroad and it looks like an expansion is necessary. Father, I pray for Your wisdom to overflow into the congregation as we hold our congregational monthly meeting to talk about this. May we not expand the church for our own pride or accomplishments. You are the One who has accomplished the growth of this church. You are moving big time right now and we all need to focus on You and not ourselves. Give us wisdom as to what to do in this expansion. May we build exactly what You are leading us to build. I give You all the praise in this, Lord! Amen
The church has many functions and it is a job for us all to be in prayer. Whatever issues your congregation is facing, pray about them. Pray for your close brothers and sisters. Pray for those you don’t know well. Just as we are washed by the Word, we can cover the church congregation with prayers and petitions before God. May God bless you as you continue to live a life worthy of the calling!
Read Derek Hill’s personal testimony here: From the Muck and Mire to a Higher Calling
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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A Prayer For The Church Family
One of the best ways to discover a Christian’s chief anxieties and ambitions is to study the content of their prayers and the intensity with which they pray them. We all pray about what concerns us and we are evidently not concerned about matters we do not include in our prayers. Prayer expresses desire.
As the hymn puts it, “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, unuttered or expressed.” This is certainly true of today’s text – Paul’s second prayer in Ephesians. He pours out his heart to God.
Before launching into his petitions, Paul lays the foundation for his prayer in acknowledging God as Father/Creator …‘from whom his whole family … derives its name.’ The Life Application Bible notes say of these verses,
“The family of God includes all who have believed in him in the past, all who believe in the present, and all who will believe in the future. We are all a family because we have the same Father. He is the source of all creation, the rightful owner of everything … those who isolate themselves from God’s family or try to go it alone cut themselves off …”
We are a family, and just like any other family we will have shared joys and shared tears … feelings get hurt, and relationships get healed. Bonded together by our adoption by God, we have been forged into a new family – a family that prays for one another.
Through his emphasis on the fatherhood of God and the church as family, Paul prays a prayer for the church family, both then and now. This prayer serves as a model for us in prayer, both in praying for ourselves and praying for others in the family of God. This three phase prayer builds, each phase upon the previous, culminating in a request that God’s ultimate goal be reached in us.
Klyne Snodgrass says of this prayer, “This prayer is as appropriate to pray today as it was two thousand years ago, and its theological ideas are directly as applicable to our lives.”
So what was Paul’s prayer – what should we pray. Let begin with phase one.
Prayer Phase #1 – God’s power would be renewed within us.
While the apostle urged his Christian readers not to be discouraged on account of his suffering in 3:13, his prayer is for them to be strengthened by God’s power in order to meet this need.
At the heart of Paul’s first petition is a request for power. He has already prayed that the Ephesian believers might know God’s incomparably great power (1:18-19a). Now he prays more directly and specifically for the Spirit’s power to be manifested – that God’s power would be renewed within us.
This prayer, like the counterpart of 1:15-23, is loaded with terms for power. God’s mighty activity is stressed, first, by means of the relatively rare Greek work rendered ‘strengthen’, which carries the idea of fortifying a stronghold. In employing this expression, Paul has in mind more than becoming muscular. The emphasis is upon increased vigor and vitality. From this we can deduce that perhaps Paul is addressing some members of the Ephesian church who have just become spiritually worn out … they are ready to give up. The strengthening is further intensified by the addition of the words ‘with power’.
The resources available to fulfill this confident request are limitless: they are (lit.) ‘according to the riches of his glory’, an expression similar to one used in the earlier prayer of 1:18, where the readers, who are God’s own inheritance, share in ‘the riches of his glory’. The preposition draws attention not simply to the source, translated ‘out of the wealth of his glory’ as in the NIV, but also indicates that his giving flows freely from an inexhaustible supply of riches of that glory. It is on a scale corresponding with this glory: he gives as overwhelmingly as only he can, yet it never decreases the store of what he is able to supply.
The sphere in which the strengthening is to take place is in ‘the inner person’, a uniquely Pauline phrase. This inner person is ‘the interior of our being … the seat of personal consciousness, … of our moral being.’ It is the focal point at the center of a person’s life where the Spirit does his strengthening and renewing work. ‘In your hearts’, in verse 17, is equivalent to ‘your inner being’. The ‘heart’ here, as elsewhere in Ephesians, is employed in its customary Old Testament sense of the center of one’s personality, the thoughts, will, emotions, and whatever lies at the center of who we are.
Indeed, our inner selves stand in constant need of renewal given our continual struggle with sin and the need for daily spiritual revival. Rather than merely chasing after our physical needs and desires, we must attend to our interior lives. Our souls requires as much care and exercise as our physical bodies.