Just as God commands us in His Word to pray and make supplications for all people, God also commands us to pray for our fellow saints or brothers and sisters in Christ in the Church. However, we pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in two different senses. The first one is praying for them in the sense of being an individual. For example, we pray for provision for them, comfort, grace to grow in their relationship with God, etc. We pray for them, and we usually also pray for ourselves. The same applies when we pray for a family, a couple, or several people together in church. However, it is different when we pray for our fellow saints because we pray for them as a church congregation, meaning the things that we pray about are things regarding our being the Church. This is when we pray that they shall fulfill their mandate as a church, obey God, etc.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men
[1 Timothy 2:1]
We pray for our church by going back to the Bible. We get to see what God has called the Church to do and what is expected of it. We then pray for those things upon our church; that is an excellent way to pray for the church members.
How do you pray for the church congregation?
It must be the Bible that we consult and go back to when it comes to knowing or looking for what to pray for the church members. Being God’s Word, the Bible contains everything God commanded us to do. It is where we will learn what is expected of the Church and us to fulfill. As we get to know those things from the Bible, we can pray for those things to be evident in the Church.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
[Psalm 119:105]For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
[Hebrews 4:12]All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
[2 Timothy 3:16]And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation
[2 Corinthians 5:18]Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
[Ephesians 2:19-22]To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God
[Ephesians 3:10]For example, we all know that Jesus has commanded the Church to be the salt and light to the world. Our prayer is that the Church shall fulfill its mandate of being the salt and light to our respective communities. Another one is that the Church is expected to be set apart from the world. That means that if the world indulges itself in worldly passions and sin, the Church is to pursue holiness in its members’ lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our prayer then is for the Church to pursue a holy life continuously and for its members to continue to live their lives set apart from the world; that the Gospel of Christ shall be evident in the way they live their lives.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Why do we have to pray for a church or congregation? There are things that God has called on only the Church to do that no government or any institution of the world has been called to do. One is the preaching of the Gospel. No matter what reforms or legislation it tries to initiate, the government can never create permanent change in this world, but the Church can with the Gospel it preaches. The Gospel changes the hearts of the people and frees them from sin. That alone distinguishes the calling and purpose God has designated to the Church and its importance. That is why we have to always pray for the Church and that we will always fulfill what God has called us to do. Preaching the Gospel is only of the many things that God has specially called the Church to do.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
God has also called the Church to demonstrate the Gospel by loving all people. That is where the act of charity, generosity, service, help, mercy, and every good work comes from. That is also what differentiates what the Church does from non-profit organizations. The Church does good works not just for charity but for demonstrating the Gospel. The end goal is still the preaching of the Gospel. However, God did not command us only to preach the Gospel. We are also to demonstrate it.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
[James 1:27]For the believer, the role of the Church is also vital. Only in our churches can we be in fellowship with other believers and do corporate worship. With that, the church’s corporate worship must be Christ-centered and biblical. In church, believers can also learn sound biblical teachings as they grow in theology, pray with other believers, and do life together. Believers can only experience communion, or the “breaking of the bread,” in church or in fellowship with other believers. It is one of the means of grace that God has instituted along with other spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading, praying, and fellowship with other believers.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
[Acts 2:42]For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
[1 Corinthians 11:23–26]
With the epistles of Paul that address the church, you can read those verses and know what God has called the Church to do or what is expected of it. You can use these as a basis to pray for the Church. One example is when the apostle Paul tells Timothy about rightly handling the word of truth. You can pray for your church that it shall also rightly handle the Scriptures and be faithful toward them. The epistles of Paul are good sources from which you can pray for church members because, in those epistles, Paul himself was addressing the congregations of different churches and their respective issues. Of course, there are many other Bible verses that you can use to pray for the Church aside from the epistles of Paul, like when Jesus commanded us to make disciples, as mentioned above.
You also don’t just pray for the Church to fulfill its role but also to remain faithful to God. Just because a church gives to the poor and talks about Jesus does not mean it is a doctrinally-sound church. A church may appear suitable but is rotting inside by going along with the world and not standing up against the truth that it should stand up for. It is also important to pray for the faithfulness and holiness of the bride of Christ.
What is a good prayer for a church?
A good prayer for a church is based on the Bible, which shows us the blueprint of what a church should be. Also, a good prayer for a church prays for God’s grace and mercy. Only by God’s grace and mercy can a church be what God has called it to be.
There is no better prayer for the Church than God’s will. We find God’s will through His Word or the Scriptures. It is like praying the Scriptures over the Church. As you read the Bible, you will find the things you can and should pray for the Church. Here are some excellent ways taken from the Bible that you can use to pray for the Church:
As mentioned before, Christ has commanded every Christian to be the salt and light wherever they are. They are also commanded to go and make disciples of all nations. Being the salt and light and preaching the Gospel are two things that should always be evident to every Christian and, therefore, evident to a local church. A church should be a disciple-making church and preach the Gospel to the community it is in. It is also to demonstrate the Gospel it preaches by preserving what is good in their communities and being a blessing to them, whether through charity works or acts of service. As the church ministers, it is also important to pray that it will always rely on and be empowered by the Spirit, Who gives it the power and the boldness to preach Christ to the lost.
And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
[Mark 13:10]Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
The Church is always on the offensive against its enemies. The Church’s enemies are not just the people who persecute it but also the spiritual forces of darkness. Because the Church is on the offensive and the spiritual enemies are on the defensive, they do everything to halt the unstoppable advancement of God’s kingdom. One of the ways they do that is by inciting division among the church members. That is why your prayer should always be for your church to be united despite their differences. They shall always fight for their relationships despite the tensions that will happen. In the end, you may have disagreements and tensions, but you are all part of the same body of Christ, and each person has a different function – just as in a single body where the parts work together – for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
[1 Corinthians 1:10]For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
[1 Corinthians 12:12]I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Another crucial thing to pray for your church is for it to always uphold biblical and sound teachings. That means rightly handling God’s word of truth. Though this prayer falls more on the pastor(s) and the ministers, it is still something that you can pray for the church members as well. Pray that the church shall always be faithful to the Scriptures and never tweak God’s word to suit what the hearers want to hear. Also, pray for the congregation that they shall be like the Bereans, who do not take everything at face value but study the word of God themselves to see if everything they hear is indeed biblical. Pray also that they shall humble themselves in what the Word of God says and submit to it even if it is not what they wanted it to mean.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
[Acts 17:11]Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
[2 Timothy 2:15]Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
[2 Timothy 4:2-3]
In everything that a church should do, it should glorify God and exalt the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is something that you can pray for your church as it preaches the Gospel, demonstrates it through good works, sends missionaries, and does everything that it can do for God. Pray that the name they want to shout out and make famous is not the name of their church or themselves but the name of Christ, Who has been crucified for the sins of humanity and resurrected from the dead.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
[2 Thessalonians 1:11-12]
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
[1 Corinthians 10:31]Even in the United States, churches do face persecution. Christians have lost their jobs and even gone to jail just because they didn’t approve of something they knew was evil in the sight of God. These are Christians who are persecuted for being faithful to God. It is always best to pray for God’s preserving grace upon the Church so the believers will continue to persevere in the faith and faithfully run the race that God has set before them. Also, pray that they never fall back to the world and shall be persistent despite the persecutions they face.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
[Matthew 5:10]If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
[John 15:18]Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
[2 Timothy 3:12]Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us
[Hebrews 12:1]My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
As we pray for the Church to continue persevering as we live our Christian lives, we also pray for its members to deny themselves every day continually. Following Jesus means denying one’s self. It means that our allegiance is not to ourselves anymore but to Christ. Everything we do in our lives is not about us but about Christ. You should also pray that church members submit their hearts to the Lordship of Christ and that Christ shall always be the One Who is enthroned in their hearts.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
[Proverbs 4:23]Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
[Matthew 16:24]I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
[Galatians 2:20]Another essential thing to pray for a church is that the believers shall continuously pursue holiness, as that is what sets Christians apart from the world. Christians are free from the bondage of sin because of what Christ has done on the cross. Though it does not mean perfection, it means sanctification. Living a holy life is essential for Christians to witness Christ to the lost. If we have been set free from sin, our lives should back up the Gospel that we preach. A church that pursues holiness is a church whose heart is repentant and regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
[Ephesians 5:15-16]If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
[2 Timothy 2:21]But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
[1 Peter 1:15-16]Given all of this, here is an example of how you can pray for the Church:
Heavenly Father, You are the God of grace Who sustains us with the strength we need. I pray for our church that You would continue to give us the grace we need to persevere in the faith and count it all joy whenever we encounter trials of various kinds. Convict the church always to obey Christ’s mandate, making disciples and being the salt and light to the world. I pray that no division shall arise in our church. Instead, I pray that love and unity shall abound and that all believers shall always bear with one another, forgiving each other, and showing mercy to one another. May the church always be faithful to the Scriptures and always long to hear and study Your Word. I pray that we shall not conform to the patterns of this world but will stand up for the truth and pursue holiness in our lives. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
The Church is the body of Christ. Just like a body, it is the one being used to move or do things. God, in His sovereignty, chose to partner with or use the Church to accomplish His will. Of course, He can still do things even without the Church. We should always pray for the Church to be faithful to God and do what it is called to do. As we pray, we pray for God’s grace upon the Church. It is only by the grace of God that empowers us that the Church can be what God expects it to be. Only by God’s grace can it be bold to share the Gospel—compassionate, generous, and persistent in pursuing holiness.