Prayer For the Church Pastoral Staff
18 Things to Pray for Your Church
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) [excerpt], as well as TGC’s corresponding eight-session group study curriculum (LifeWay) [announcement | excerpt].
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 -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 or , led by the phrase “Pray for your church: . . .” Don’t insert my 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 membersso that they can guide and guard one another in it.
5. Thattransparent, 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. Thatelders would remain above reproach,kept from temptation, complacency, idols, and worldliness.
8. Thatthe church’s songs would teach members to biblically confess, lament, and praise.
9. Thatthe church’s prayers would be infused with biblical ambitions, honesty, and humility.
10. Thatadult 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 beingdistinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.
13. That members wouldshare the gospel this week—and see more conversions!
14. That members would beprepared for persecution, remembering to love, not curse, their persecutors.
15. Thathopes 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. Thatmore members would use their careers to take the gospel to places it’s never been.
18. Thatmembers 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.
Church Membership • Healthy Church • Nature of the Church • Prayer
8 Prayers You Should DESPERATELY Pray For Your Pastor
Pastoral ministry is a business un any other. It is a dangerous business. A sacred business. A business where the souls of people are at stake.
I was a pastor for many years, so I have a feel for the perils and pleasures of ministry. It’s very hard, supremely rewarding work.
Gardiner Spring said:
It is at a fearful expense that ministers are ever allowed to enter the pulpit without being preceded, accompanied, and followed by the earnest prayers of the churches.
It is no marvel that the pulpit is so powerless, and ministers so often disheartened when there are so few to hold up their hands…When the churches cease to pray for ministers, ministers will no longer be a blessing to the churches.
In light of the challenges of ministry, here are 8 prayers every church member should pray for their pastor(s) on a regular basis.
#1 – For Protection From Satan
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
If Satan can take down a shepherd of God’s people, the odds are much higher that God’s people will scatter. That they’ll become bitter and disenfranchised. They will question everything they’ve ever been taught by that pastor. Satan targets pastors because the damage is exponential if they fall. Pray for your pastor that he would be kept safe from Satan.
Father, please protect my pastor from the attacks of Satan. Give him the strength to endure temptation and stand firm against the accusations Satan loves to whisper in his ear. Help him stand firm in your service, always fighting for the faith and for his people.
#2 – For Protection Against His Own Sinful Heart
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)
Pastors don’t fall because one day, the blue, they decide to dive headlong into sin. The slide into sin happens slowly, over time, in small increments, as the pastor believes the lies presented to him by his flesh. Pray for your pastor that he would be on guard against the lies of sin. Pray that he would have a proper fear of God.
Father, please protect my pastor from the deceitfulness of sin that we all are so prone to. Guard him from sin. Keep his conscience tender and fresh. Keep him close to you and close to your word.
#3 – For Deep Spiritual Encouragement
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:11-12)
Pastoral ministry can be brutal, discouraging work. Pastors find themselves in the midst of terrible situations on a regular basis – divorce, death, apostasy, and much more.
It’s also challenging because they don’t see progress in the sense that other jobs do. Christians are always in progress. Because of this, discouragement and depression can be a regular companion of the minister.
Pray for your pastor to be encouraged.
Father, please encourage my pastor by the power of your Spirit. Let his soul be refreshed with the love of Christ. Let him have faith for the future. Help him to keep pressing forward even when the way is littered with landmines. Let him be refreshed by the fact that your grace is sufficient for him.
#4 – For Wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
Many elements of pastoral ministry are not black and white. A husband and wife are in serious conflict, and the husband has one story while the wife has another. A church member needs financial support but has a history of mismanaged finances. A young man struggles with same-sex attraction while still wanting to follow Jesus. Pastors need God’s wisdom to navigate these gray areas.
Father, please give my pastor your wisdom. Help him know the way to go even when the way is not clear. Give him discernment to know good from evil, even when evil is dressed as good. Help him apply your word to even the most confusing situations.
#5 – For Doctrinal Faithfulness
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:14).
Pastors can be tempted to modify or even abandon biblical doctrines for a variety of reasons. Cultural pressures, vocal church members, even legal actions can press hard upon pastors, making them feel that the only way out is to give up the clear teaching of Scripture. They need God’s grace to stay faithful to the good deposit of God’s word.
Father, I pray for my pastor that you would help him hold fast to Scripture, even when everyone else tells him to let go. Help him stand on your word and only your word. Protect him from the temptation to abandon the precious truths laid out in Scripture.
#6 – For A Healthy Body
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Ministry can take a tremendous toll on a pastor’s body. Yes, our bodies are temples, but they are often broken temples.
Long nights at the hospital, high-stress situations, and ever-present discouragement can quickly lead to burnout and body betrayal.Not only do pastor’s need spiritual strength, they need physical strength as well. Pray for your pastor that he would be sustained in body and mind.
Father, please give my pastoral supernatural strength. Protect him from sickness and disease. Give him your energy to keep serving faithfully. Help him to find periods of rest and recovery. Guide him to still waters.
#7 – For A Strong Marriage and Family
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church (1 Timothy 3:2-6)
Church history is littered with the skeletons of pastors whose marriages and families fell apart under the strain of pastoral ministry. And as 1 Timothy states, if a pastor can’t manage his family, how can he manage the church of God? Satan loves to sabotage a pastor’s family, and your pastor needs prayer that God will give him a healthy marriage and family.
Father, please give my pastor a supernaturally healthy marriage. Strengthen the bonds between him and his wife. Encourage them both in ministry. Give both of them wisdom to manage their family and to keep you at the center, not ministry. I also pray for their children that you would let them know you and follow you.
#8 – For Meaningful Friendships
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
Pastoral ministry can be surprisingly lonely. Something about being in a position of leadership isolates the man. People look to him to be a teacher and leader, not be their close friend. Pastors need close friends who will encourage them, hold them accountable, and push them toward Christ.
Father, please give my pastor true, deep, sustaining friendships. Give him friends who stick closer than brothers. Who uphold him when he’s weary. Who help carry his burdens.
Sustained By Prayer
In some ways, pastors are sustained by the prayers of their people. Obviously, God is the one who ultimately sustains pastors, but one of his primary means is through the prayers for pastors.
When it comes to why you should pray for your pastor, take the words of Charles Spurgeon to heart:
No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.
Do your pastor a true kindness today. Pray for your pastor.
The Pastoral Prayer
THE local elder is often asked to offer the pastoral prayer for the worship service. This is a solemn responsibility, and one that many an elder would much rather shy away from. Nevertheless it will continue to be expected of you as one of the spiritual leaders of the church. Here are a few suggestions that may guide you in making this prayer what God would want it to be.
In this prayer you speak to God for the congregation. You seek to express their joys, their needs, their soul hunger. To adequately enter into this experience your own heart must first be touched.
So as you consider the awesome needs of the congregation, and how you can rightly represent them before the Lord, pray most earnestly that God will refill your own heart with His love and Spirit. Remember, the spirit and nature of the prayer can have much to do with the measure of blessing bestowed on the rest of the service.
Pray that God will use you as an instrument during the precious moments of prayer to draw the hearts of all into His presence, and prepare them for the message to follow.
Prepare the Prayer
It is not necessary to write out the prayer, although to do this occasionally can be very helpful. Even then, however, it should not be read. The point is that the prayer should be carefully thought through.
As a general guide to the prayer pattern it would be well to keep clearly in mind the following five essentials: 1. Adoration.
Adoration, Thanksgiving, and Confession
First, we approach God in the spirit of praise. We adore Him. We love Him. Not just because of what He has done for us, but because He is God—the Creator and Redeemer—the One in whom we live and move and have our being. Second, we thank Him for the blessings we have received from Him, for the privilege of worship, song, and prayer.
We are grateful for the plan of salvation, for the forgiveness of sins, for the hope of the gospel. Third, we confess our sinfulness, our proneness to for get Jesus, our ill tempers, our hasty words, our disregard for the needs of others, our selfishness and pride. We claim both forgiveness for sins of the past, and power to be overtomers in the future.
Our great burden is to be more Christ.
Intercession and Dedication
Fourth, our prayer leads to intercession or petition, taking into account the varied needs of our congregation. We pray for the church, for the pastor and his family, the church officers, each family, the young and the elderly. We pray for the community, for leaders in governments.
We should have a special burden for revival and reformation, pleading for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for God's direction and blessing on every soul-winning endeavor.
The praying one will pray especially that rich spiritual blessings will result from the message of the morning. Finally, the prayer should conclude with a statement of commitment or dedication. «Lord, we thank Thee again for the privilege of worship. We surrender our hearts to Thee anew.
Make us conscious of Thy presence as we continue to wait upon Thee. We ask in Jesus' name. Amen.»
As you think over these five foundation stones of prayer, you can readily see how logically a rightly balanced prayer can be developed around them. The prayer will not always reflect each in the order here suggested.
By all means avoid a stereotype outline that can become a rut. But have these principles firmly fastened in the mind. So often our prayers are almost entirely petition. How often the elements of praise and gratitude are omitted.
This should not be, and, with this suggestive outline in mind, it will not be.
Special study should be made to make the prayer meaningful and to the point, avoiding wearisome repetition.
On one occasion as we got up from our knees after one of the elders had offered an exceptionally lengthy repetitious prayer, another elder at my side whispered, «Wasn't that a dilly?» Perhaps his remarks were place considering the occasion, but on the other hand, the prayer was all of that and more. Unfortunately, ofttimes prayers ascend to heaven that weary even the angels. About three minutes is generally thought to be an appropriate length.
Pray in the Spirit
Some prayers are as formal and dry as the weather report in midsummer. If our prayers are to be effective we must first have a sense of real need, then the need must be expressed in earnestness and sincerity.
There must be passion in our praying. I do not mean sentimentalism, but intensiveness, earnestness, and spiritual enthusiasm.
There must be warmth and life— a holy passion for personal righteousness and for the triumph of God's cause.
«We» Not «Them»
Identify yourself with the needs of the congregation. This is very important. Study carefully the prayer of Daniel in Daniel 9:4-19. Notice how he prays, «We have sinned,» «Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets,» «We have rebelled.
» Daniel, a righteous man against whom even his enemies could find no fault, looked upon himself as a needy sinner, along with his captive people. When praying for the congregation, re member you are one of them. It is «we» not «them.
» Otherwise it gives the impression of self-righteousness, you interceding for the less fortunate «sinning» congregation (see also Ezra 9:5-15).
Simplicity and Sincerity
Keep in mind that in the prayer you are talking to God as to a friend. Talk simply and sincerely. Don't try to «put on.» Don't be unnatural. If your heart is right, and if you have a real concern for the church, its people, and its mission, the prayer will be effectual and pastor and people will be blessed.
My prayer: Dear Lord, it's a solemn responsibility to speak in behalf of the congregation in the worship service. Teach me how to better perform this task. Enlighten my heart to my own needs and to those of Thy people. Grant that my prayers may be much more than mere formal recitations, or needless repetitions of hackneyed phrases. May the words be meaningful and relevant, bathed in the spirit of gratitude and praise. May they be words that will lift hearts into heavenly places, words that will bring hope and encouragement, blessing and power. In Jesus' name. Amen