Have you ever been reading your Bible and noticed how Paul prays such rich, kingdom-saturated prayers for churches? The Bible lets us listen in on some of his prayers For example:
· For the church in Thessalonica: With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. (2 Thess. 1:11)
· For the church in Colossae: For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Col. 1:9–10).
· For the church in Ephesus: I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Eph. 1:16–17).
· For the church in Philippi: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Phil. 1:9-11).
· And again for the church in Ephesus: For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:14–19
You see, 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 church?
For one, we just need to start doing it—and encouraging others to do so.
And to help with that, here are 14 things you can pray for our church. (Wouldn’t that make a great sermon series?) Anyway, these ideas aren’t as rich as Paul’s since I wanted to keep them simple (and also because I’m not inspired.) Still, perhaps you could print out this blog 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. Who knows? One day in glory, perhaps we’ll see all the good accomplished from believers who decided to become more deliberate about praying for their churches. Here is the list…
What to Pray For
1. That we would always 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 a hunger for studying the Bible would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it.
4. That transparent, meaningful relationships would become normal at Maple Grove and remaining anonymous would be strange.
5. The preaching of God’s Word—that Nick and I would be biblically careful and Holy Spirit inspired as we prepare to preach.
6. That elders would remain above reproach, kept from temptation, complacency, idols, and worldliness.
7. That the church’s music would teach members to biblically confess, lament, and praise.
8. That the church’s prayers would be infused with biblical ambitions, honesty, and humility.
9. That the church’s primary teachers will always grow in dedication to God’s Word even when no one’s watching.
10. That our church would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.
11. That members would share the gospel with someone this week—and that we would see more people come to Christ for salvation!
12. That members would be prepared for persecution, remembering to love, not curse, their persecutors.
13. That giving would continue to be faithful, as well as joyful, consistent, and sacrificial.
14. 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 an “official list” of the most important things to pray. The point is for all of us to start praying more intentionally for our church and to encourage others to do the same.
Rick Amerine is the Senior Pastor at Maple Grove.