WAYS TO PRAY FOR YOUR CHURCH
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he reminds them to pray - and specifically to pray well… “with all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19). The traveling missionary-pastor wants to communicate to this church that he loves that prayer is not only important to practice, but to be intentional about ways to pray for their church family. He commands them to “be on alert” and to persevere in their prayers for all of the saints. These quick statements are jam packed with the idea of being intentional to not only pray, but to pray well. We often need reminded of our need to pray; yet even still need to be mindful and on the alert as to what we can pray for. Here are a few things I’ve shared with the church Wednesday nights about specific ways we can pray for our church family:
PRAY FOR SPIRITUAL NEEDS
We understand that in a sense all things are spiritual. But when we specifically take request for spiritual matters we need to find out and share with one another how we’re doing in our walk with the Lord. In other words, we’re asking, “How is your soul?” As believers, we constantly face trial, hardship, celebration, and times of rejoicing - and it’s not only a good idea to share these things together with our brothers and sisters - it’s a commandment. The New Testament is full of commands for local churches to love one another within their relationships. In fact, there are over fifty instances of our calling to practice some form of treatment towards the “one another’s” in the New Testament (http://storage.cloversites.com/wakarusamissionarychurch/documents/59one_another_scriptures.pdf).
Sharing spiritual needs, confessing sin, being open about struggles, and sharing praises of God’s work should be the natural overflow of our prayers for one another as we live in community as a faith family.
2. PRAY FOR PHYSICAL NEEDS
This form of prayer request typically takes up the majority of our mentions because the illness’s, disease, and deaths of loved ones weigh heavy in our hearts and demand our prayers. We believe that God is able to heal any situation and in His divine power often does; yet even if He does not, we pray for His comfort and strength to those who are afflicted and that His light would shine in the darkness of sin’s destruction.
3. PRAY FOR MISSIONAL NEEDS
Without a consistent mission mindedness a church ceases to be a healthy church. For that reason, we must pray that the Lord would work in us and through us as we live our lives on purpose both among one another but also out in the world (Matt.5:14-16). We must ask, “Who needs to be saved? Who needs to be served? How can we reach certain people? How should we utilize our God given resources to advance His kingdom?” We must pray that God would work and in so doing understand our reliance on Him to bring a harvest and also to strengthen us as His servants.
4. PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR
The Apostle Paul was quick to realize his own need for prayer. It is not selfish or prideful to ask for prayer - just the opposite. As your pastor, I need your constant prayers. Pray that I would love and lead our church well. Pray for me as I stand to preach. Pray for me in any way the Lord may lead.
Which of these forms of prayer take up the majority of your or your Sunday School classes request? Ask God to burden your heart to pray in a way that in consistent with one who prays in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).