Have you ever been reading your Bible and noticed how Paul prays such rich, kingdom-saturated prayers for churches?
- For the church in Thessalonica: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power” (2 Thess. 1:11; see also 1 Thess. 1:9–13).
- For the church in Colossae: “We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9–10).
- For the church in Ephesus: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph. 1:16–17; see also 3:14–21).
- For the church in Rome (Rom. 15:14–33) and the church in Philippi (Phil. 1:9–11).
Of course, there’s far more where this came from. See Don Carson’s excellent book on the topic, Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation (Baker) , as well as TGC’s corresponding eight-session group study curriculum (LifeWay) .
Leading the Charge
It’s comparatively easy for you and me to pray for ourselves, our families, and our friends. But how can we learn how to pray more fervently and consistently for our local churches?
For one, we just need to start doing it—and encouraging others to do so.
To help with that, here are 18 things you can pray for your church. They aren’t as rich as Paul’s since I wanted to keep them simple and Twitter-length. (Also because I’m not inspired.) Still, perhaps you could print out this article and pray two or three of the points below per day for the next week—maybe in your quiet time, maybe at the family dinner table.
Also, consider copying and pasting your favorite prayers below into Twitter or Facebook, led by the phrase “Pray for your church: . . .” Don’t insert my Twitter handle or TGC’s. You don’t have enough room, and it’s not the point. The point is to use your social media platform to encourage others to pray for their church.
Who knows? One day in glory, perhaps we’ll see all the good accomplished from believers being more deliberate about praying for their churches.
What to Pray For
1. That we would have unity amid diversity—loving those with whom we have nothing in common but the gospel.
2. That a culture of discipling would form in which making disciples is viewed as an ordinary part of the Christian life.
3. That faithful elders would use Scripture to train members to do the work of ministry.
4. That a hunger for studying the gospel would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it.
5. That transparent, meaningful relationships would become normal and remaining anonymous strange.
6. The preaching of God’s Word—that it would be biblically careful and Holy Spirit imbued.
7. That elders would remain above reproach, kept from temptation, complacency, idols, and worldliness.
8. That the church’s songs would teach members to biblically confess, lament, and praise.
9. That the church’s prayers would be infused with biblical ambitions, honesty, and humility.
10. That adult members would work to disciple teenagers and not just leave it to programming.
11. That the church’s primary teachers grow in dedication to God’s Word even when no one’s watching.
12. That it would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.
13. That members would share the gospel this week—and see more conversions!
14. That members would be prepared for persecution, remembering to love, not curse, their persecutors.
15. That hopes for political change would be outstretched by the hope of heaven.
16. That giving would be faithul, as well as joyful, consistent, and sacrificial.
17. That more members would use their careers to take the gospel to places it’s never been.
18. That members would be good and do good in their workplaces this week.
Can you think of something I didn’t include? Then pray it and share it! This is hardly the “official list” of the 18 most important things to pray. They’re simply what one guy thought of while sitting in his office chair.
The point is for all of us to start praying more intentionally for our churches, and to encourage others to do the same.
“Prayer meetings were the arteries of the early church. Through them, life-sustaining power was derived. The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-o-meter, and from it, we may judge of the amount of divine working among a people. If God is near a church, it must pray. And if He is not there, one of dying first tokens of His absence will be a slothfulness in prayer!” Charles Haddon Spurgeon
When is the last time you prayed for your church body? What about your pastor? Staff? Leadership? Have you prayed for your Sunday School teacher? Have you interceded on behalf of issues taking place in your church or decisions that need to be made?
Our churches are under the attack of the enemy like never before. Our leaders and each of our brothers and sisters in Christ need our prayers. We are the Body of Christ and we must lift one another up! Let’s use these prayers for the church – both your local church and those around the world.
Table of contents
A Prayer for Good to Prevail over Evil
“‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:20
Lord, what the enemy means for evil against our church body, we believe You can use for good. Remind our hearts of this. When we are being attacked and crushed from all sides, remind us of Your faithfulness to use everything for Your good and Your glory. May we not fear but trust in Your provision for our church family. May we not only be readers of Your Word but believers and doers. Increase our faith, Lord.
A Prayer for Unity as a Church Body
“I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
God, help our church body to walk in a manner worthy of the calling You have given us. Help us in all our interactions with one another to have humble and gentle hearts. Grant us patience for one another, bearing with one another in love. Grant the Body of Christ unity. May we walk humbly with You, God, allowing You to show us our wrongs.
A Prayer to Seek the Lord
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
Lord, You have told us in Your Word that You hear our prayers. We are crying out to You, we are humbling ourselves before You and seeking Your face. We come together as a church body to seek You. We repent and turn from our wicked ways, thank You for hearing us. Thank you for Your forgiveness and healing.
A Prayer to Pursue Peace
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19
Father God, You desire peace and unity and encouragement for our body of believers. Help us, Lord, to pursue what makes for peace and for building one another up. To pursue the things You will lead to peace and unity. Give us discerning hearts to know Your will and give us the courage to be obedient. Lord, we know that without You and Your Holy Spirit indwelling each of us, we cannot do any of these things. But, with You and for Your glory, grant our body peace and unity.
A Prayer to Follow Jesus
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Lord, You have given us what seems like an impossible task with this passage. You have asked us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow You. Even when our spirits are willing, the flesh is weak. You know our hearts, Father. Help us, with Your Holy Spirit, to examine our hearts and hear from You. The longer we walk with You, the more we look like You. We desire to become more and more like You, less selfish and more selfless, willing to deny ourselves in any and all situations. You have told us that when we lose our life for Your sake, we will save it. Save us from ourselves, God.
As we lift up these words for our churches, let us come before God with humility and a willingness to obey. Let us put others first and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. May we seek God first, putting aside our own desires. May we become intercessors for our brothers and sisters in Christ. May we pray more and criticize less. May we be encouragers and uplifters.
Candace Crabtree is just a broken mama thankful for grace and new mercies every morning. She and her husband live in East Tennessee where they homeschool their 3 kids. Candace also enjoys teaching piano, coffee, good books and blogging at His Mercy Is New. On her blog, she shares encouragement for weary women from God’s Word along with resources for learning to pray the Scriptures.
Publication date: July 7, 2016
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
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Here are five prayers that may help you pray for church unity.
Prayer for Unity in the Community
You know that we are called into a community of believers who are to have one mind, and that is to glorify You and to make disciples of all nations, even if we’re only able to reach those in our own community. We realized that we cannot possibly have unity in our local community, the church, unless Your Spirit has His way with us. Until we are gathered together with one mind, we cannot be as effective as a church as we can be. Until You send Your Spirit, our carnal natures may try to dictate what we think we should do, but please Father, help us to focus on the mission that You have for each one of us, and as one body, we can do more when we are working together and not placing our own opinions above those of others, than when we work alone. Help us to see that Your desire is for us to work together as a body does in doing what You have set before us to do, and I pray for You to open doors for us to walk through, but also that we might also see what we are to do in walking through that door and recognize the work You have purposed for us to do. Truly, we know we must be striving to live a holy life and to make Jesus Christ the center of our lives, and only then can we hope to do anything for His glory, and not ours, and in the mighty name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.
Prayer for One Purpose
Great God in heaven,
please help our church that we have one purpose in life and that is to glorify You and Your Great Son, Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters because You have said in Your Word that we will not glorify You in our lives if we are not striving to live in obedience to You, and to love one another, which is what we need to do to show the world that our love for one another is how they will know that we are truly Jesus’ disciples (John 13:35). You have testified in Your Word that “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7), should be striving to bring You glory and to not rob You of glory for things that we do and ascribe these works to ourselves. We must realize that we have nothing that we did not receive from You Lord (1 Cor 4:4), so if we boast, let our church boast only in You for all the marvelous things You have done for us, and that is our prayer and it is in the name of and for the glory of Jesus Christ, in Whose name we pray, Amen.
Prayer for Oneness of Mind
Blessed Father God,
You are so good to us, even though none of us deserve Your goodness (Rom 3:10-12), and that You alone are good, and so let us join together in one mind for one express purpose and that is to proclaim Your goodness to those who do not yet know You. Oh, God, that they would know You so that You might extend Your grace to them (James 4:6) that they might be saved. Please help us take heed to Jesus’ Words in praying that we might be one, praying “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11), and that should be our prayer too Father. Let us be of one mind and have one purpose and that is to glorify You and to tell others that there is only one way that they might be saved, and that is through the Person and work of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). Let us join hands and hearts in this single purpose for us to all have one mind and a mind that is focused on You for Your work that You have prepared beforehand for us to do (Eph 2:10), and it is for this that we pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Prayer for Mission
Holy God, most reverenced above all,
Please help us to focus on the mission You have given us all, and that mission is to reach the lost and to make disciples of all with whom we come into contact, and to teach them the same things that You taught Your disciples (Matt 28:19-20) and by their writings in Your Word, that we may be taught these very same things. Oh Lord, Your Word stands forever, so let us put feet on our faith in doing what You have commanded us to do, and that is to help the poor, the widows and orphans (James 1:27), but also to visit the sick and those in prison, and to welcome into the family those who are strangers among us (Matt 25:34-35), because we understand that what we do for the least of these, we are really doing it for You (Matt 25:40), but also what we don’t do for others, we are not doing for You Lord (Matt 25:45). I know You take these marching orders seriously, so let us invest our lives into doing what You have commanded us to do, but always doing it for Your glory and not ours, and in the precious name of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Prayer for the Body
God, my Father,
You have placed each one of us in the Body of Christ, the church, as it has pleased You and not us. Help us to recognize that it is You Who have organized Your church and have placed each one of us exactly where we need to be to do Your work and for Your glory. If we can respect those who some might consider to be in a less-than-honorable position, then we can understand that even those who seem to be less in the body are actually those who are more honorable in Your eyes, just as Paul said that the “parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty” (1st Cor 12:23). We know that You have no greater respect or regard for one person over another, so help us to not have a higher regard for some and not for others (Acts 10:34), and for what we ourselves have been called to do for You. This is all about You Lord and not about us, so help us to prioritize our calling within the body and to respect all members as the same, as You also do, and in the name above all names, Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.
Perhaps you could comment by giving us a much better prayer than the ones that I have written from the heart. There is such importance in our prayers and in particular, our corporate prayers as we send our requests to God through Jesus Christ. May we be of one mind, one purpose, having one mission, and for our community of believers to all be in agreement in beseeching Your help in doing what you’ve called us to do. That is to reach the lost, glorify You in our lives, and to show the world what the love of God truly looks like in the hopes that they might be drawn to You and place their trust in You so that they too might be saved.
Read more about prayer here: Different Types of Prayer in the Bible
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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