Prayer is one of the mysterious ways of the Christian life. Praying for yourself, your family, community or your country is one thing while praying for the church is a different thing altogether. Prayer is the heart of the church. Through prayers, we seek reconciliation, express our gratitude, seek wisdom and ask for grace. Since the church is not immune to earthly problems, we as Christians ought to pray to God to let the spirit guide us in building, protecting and expanding the church.
Prayers give the church a deeper understanding of the true nature of God and His purpose for the world. Kneeling before God alone in your room is often powerful, allowing you to connect to God in magical ways. For a church, prayer is a conduit to the power of God. As a church, how do you pray together? What prayer items are essential? Who should lead church prayers?
Here are crucial 9 prayers for the church you should consider when planning your church prayer sessions.
1. Thanksgiving Prayer
Whether it is in a thanksgiving celebration or the usual church service, a thanksgiving prayer is an excellent way of expressing our gratitude to the ultimate Creator. In 1st Thessalonians 5:16 – 18, we are reminded to pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances. It does not matter if the church is facing problems or celebrating milestones; the bible urges us to give thanks to Whom we bestow all blessings at all times. Thankfulness opens up a stream of wonders and delight and draws us closer to God.
Reconciliation should be a central theme in church prayers. Sin can alienate the church from God preventing it from witnessing the omnipotent nature of the Almighty. Jesus’ prayer for peace in his sermon on the mount shows that reconciliation lies at the epicenter of Christ’s ministry here on earth. In Ephesians 2:14, it is succinct that the role of the church is to pray to break the walls of division among people of all backgrounds through prayer. Paul teaches the church of Corinth to pray for reconciliation among themselves and, most importantly to God. Pray to Creator to give your church an understanding of what it means to be reconciled to God. Reconciliation is the way you can comprehend your problems, forge up solutions and fulfill the purpose of the church on earth.
3. Church Growth
Churches are required to trust in God to work miracles in and through their growth. Church leaders and followers are urged by God through the Scriptures to build and expand the church, making disciples in every people, tribe, and nation. This is a huge task which no single follower, pastor or church leader can accomplish alone. But with the help of the Almighty through prayers, church growth becomes easier. Christians are required to invoke God’s guidance through constant prayer to enable both the physical and spiritual growth of the church.
4. A Prayer for Grace
The Scriptures tell us that if we ask anything from God, through His will and faithfulness, we shall be given what we seek. Grace is the foundation of a church. It is the fuel that enables churches to put on the armor of light and shine Jesus’ kindness and love to the world. In 2nd Cor 12:8, we are told that God’s grace is sufficient for all of us for His power shows during our darkest moments. A prayer for grace enables the church to grow up in Christ resulting in lifelong spiritual maturity. With grace, the church can sail through storms, withstand trials and temptations and witness the fruits of proclaiming the purpose of Christ for the world.
5. Church Generosity
Most verses in the bible about money emphasize on the importance of sharing the little we have with the needy. Generosity is one of the primary obligations of the modern church, where most churches lay down frameworks for charity or crowdfunding to raise money to assist the needy in the society. Praying for generosity allows the church to show God’s limitless and never-ending ability to bless those who give generously. A prayer for generosity involves asking God to bless others through us (the church). Generosity is not just tied to material things – it also involves sharing the fruits of the Holy Spirit and extending grace and mercy to the world.
6. Prayer for Church Leadership
Praying for God to bless and provide knowledge and resources to the church leadership is fundamental. From the time of Paul, successful churches have always relied on prayer to give wisdom to their leaders. When three enemy armies surrounded King Jehoshaphat, he did not know what to do but pray to God. Praying for church leadership will enable them to break obstacles in their most difficult times. In prayer, we draw church leaders into deeper dependence upon God allowing them to walk a life worthy of their calling.
7. Church Unity
Divisions in the church can arise because of differences in culture, political ideologies, or socioeconomics. Paul noticed that the Church of Ephesus was about to divide because of disagreements between the members. He then wrote from prison reminding them of the need for unity in the church. When organizing a prayer week or planning for a church service, keep in mind that prayer for unity is the pillar for success. Prayers for unity bring church members, leaders and partners together, enabling them to work in harmony to fulfill God’s will for the church.
8. A Prayer for Peace
Peace in the church is a status of the inner joy, tranquility, and comfort where members and leaders coexist in harmony. A prayer for peace can help your church to resolve conflicts where every party gets satisfied. The Bible urges us to face conflicts in the church head-on and use the power of prayer to invite peace among the conflicting parties. Prayers enable us to seek personal peace with God through Christ creating an inner sense of calmness and well-being.
Prayer allows us to seek restoration and healing for the church. Whether you are seeking forgiveness for your own sins or asking God to forgive others, forgiveness is a powerful fruit of the Holy Spirit. It frees the church from past wrongdoings and prepares them for the future. Our shortcomings as human beings can anger God in ways we may not understand. That is why we are reminded to seek forgiveness for the sins we know and those we don’t know. A prayer for forgiveness gives the church new hope and beginning.
When God’s house on the earth is a house of prayer, then heaven is busy in its plans for the church. A church that prays is encircled with protection and peace of Christ. It is shielded from its enemies by supernatural powers of God.
How to Lead Church Prayers
While you can quickly assume that pastors or church leaders have a mandate of discipling the church towards prayer, any Christian can lead church prayer. There is one caveat, though. Some biblical lessons teach that God may not answer your prayer if you are asking for the wrong things, or asking for wrong reasons, or if you lack faith and have not asked for forgiveness. You need to ensure that the person leading your church in prayers is spiritually mature and can ask the right things for the right reasons.
If you are planning a prayer meeting or a prayer week in your church, here are some of the tips that can help you have a fruitful prayer session.
- Have a specific theme. Whether you want to seek forgiveness, pray for church members, or ask God to help strengthen the growth of the church, you need a well-thought theme that will drive your prayers.
- Is it an invitation-only or an open prayer meeting? Church leader groups, women groups, or any other group in the church might want to engage in prayers. Organize everything to suit the needs of the group
- Consider the number of the congregation. If you are organizing a prayer meeting for the whole church, senior church leaders and pastors should be given the role to lead the church in prayers. You also have to inform your members early that you’ll be having a prayer meeting.
- Define the length of the prayer session. Congregants need to know how long a prayer will go on.
- Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Some topics or sessions can be uncomfortable for some of the people. But that is the essence of prayer – to bring to God issues bothering us and ask for His grace and assistance in resolving the issues.
- Write down your prayers. If you have the prayer leader, you might want to write down your prayer to enable you to stay on the rails even as other congregants veer off from the main prayer theme.
Leading people in prayer is a humbling role that requires you to plan well. You need to be dynamic so as to accommodate other prayer items that can pop up during prayer meetings. Praying and worshipping go hand in hand together. You can make your sessions more engaging by including praise and worship sessions. Encourage your church to pray by carrying out occasional all-church prayer meetings.
Prayer Items for Your Church
Sometimes, you don’t know what to include in your prayer or where to start and stop. When engaging in all-church prayer, some members of the prayer team may go off-topic. So, what prayer items should you consider in your church prayers? Paul prays for the church of Thessalonica, Rome, Ephesus, and Colossae where he considers the needs and problems of these churches in his prayers.
Most churches structure their prayer calendar in such a manner that the prayer items coincide with the theme of the week. If your theme for the week is spiritual growth, then your prayer items should center on aspects regarding spirituality.
In the church, we may have a few prayer warriors, but many church members lack the biblical vision and discipline to commit themselves to intercessions, and supplication. Prayer is communication with God, believing and receiving what He has given to us through Christ. Proper connection with the Almighty implies understanding how God receives and responds to prayers.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when suggesting prayer items for your church:
- Is the prayer item relevant to the congregation?
- How does the item address the church’s intimate relationship with God?
- Does the prayer harmonize with God’s will for the church?
Like praying for yourself, you need to be steadfast and persistent when praying for the church. If Christians fail to pray for the church, the Bible tells us that we may not realize the true power of God. During church prayers, let us remember to include the prayers we discussed earlier to build our spiritual authority with Christ.