Whether you are a church member or a pastor, a choir director or a Sunday school teacher, I think we can all agree that prayer for our church is essential not only to its success but also to its health. A church full of people who are not praying for it or in it is an unhealthy one.
Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God, and although He knows what we need, it is essential to remember to keep that relationship with Him at all times.
With that being said, what are we praying for our church?
I see a lot of different kinds of prayer:
Lord, let us grow.
Let us be successful.
Help us build this new building.
Help us with this program.
Help us gain workers.
I want to say that I agree that these are great things to pray for. The church and its members should be praying for these things, but there are a lot of things that I see in scripture that I never thought to pray for. In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul prays a prayer for the church in Ephesus that I find to be a list of four things we should be praying for our churches.
Paul first prays that the people in Ephesus would be granted mighty strength by God to their “inner man.” Spiritual strength is an integral part of a successful church.
Without such a gift, we would be helpless against spiritual attacks. We may pray for success in every other avenue, but unless we have the strength of God in our lives, we will falter in these things. The presence of His Spirit in our lives will always help us endure and give us the mighty strength that is prayed for.
A church that relies on the strength of God is a church that will not die. Let us pray for a strong church.
Next he prays for wisdom and understanding for the people. In a world that is filled with many different ideas and opinions, it is important to have some discernment when it comes to picking out what is right or wrong.
This discernment comes from our lives being rooted and grounded in love and Christ dwelling in our hearts. We know right from wrong because God tells us so, thus making it essential that He is dwelling in us to point us in the right direction.
A church that is grounded in love and indwelled with Christ is one who can tell not only which direction to go in but also what is going to help or hurt the church and its mission. Let us pray for a wise church.