Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Issues Your Church Should Be Praying Together About

  • Beth Ann Baus Crosswalk.com Contributor
10 Issues Your Church Should Be Praying Together About

All Christ followers should lead a life of prayer. In fact, Scripture tells us in 1 Thessalonians to pray without ceasing. Prayer is one of the deepest joys of the Christian life, as we are bringing our praise, requests, and confessions to the throne of the living God -- our God who not only hears us but intimately knows us and cares about our individual needs.

While private prayer is vital to the Christian life, so is praying together with our church families. When we gather with other believers and engage in corporate prayer, we increase our joy and encourage one another as we take turns praising our Heavenly Father for who He is and for how He provides. We also allow ourselves to be humbled, as we confess our sins or speak openly about the struggles we face, and ask God for wisdom and intervention. In corporate prayer, we learn from the way others speak to God and become involved in the process of sanctification in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The benefits of corporate prayer are endless!

When we engage in corporate prayer we should also think outside the confines of our own personal church family. We need to be thinking about the church as a whole and the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world that we’ll never meet this side of Heaven. We need to pray for the church's needs on a local and global scale. If you’ve never engaged in corporate prayer with your church family, I hope the following 10 topics will remind you that there are serious issues your church should be praying about together.

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  • 1. Unity

    1. Unity

    Slide 1 of 10

    One of the biggest problems facing our culture today is disunity. Because the line between truth and sin has been blurred, we often find ourselves disunified with believers and unbelievers alike. We must pray for unity, and we should start within the church itself. Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” If we, as the body of Christ are not unified, how can we be the light on a hill that the world so desperately needs? How can we fervently pray for unity in our country if we ourselves can not stand united?

    In difficult situations we all like to quote Jesus from Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” And let’s be honest, uniting our country seems like one of those impossible scenarios. But no matter how impossible this may seem, it’s still true that nothing is impossible with God. As a church, we should be on our knees asking the Lord for unity -- in our churches, in our country, and then in the world.

     

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  • 1. Unity

    2. Spiritual Growth

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    One way to achieve unity within the church is for us all to continue growing in our knowledge and understanding of the gospel. Something that always stands out to me when I read Paul’s letters to the different church bodies is that he always says he prays for them. And in many of those letters he specifically says he prays for them to have knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and understanding. This is an example every believer should follow.

    When we pray for spiritual growth within the church, we are asking for supernatural transformation. As we grow in knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and understanding, the gospel translates into every area of our lives as we more fully demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit and are more aware of the Spirit’s presence in our lives. Praying for spiritual growth is the best way to cure all the diseases that infect our churches.

     

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  • 1. Unity

    3. The Persecuted Church

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    When I think of issues we need to praying for, I think of the persecuted church, our brothers and sisters around the world who are being tortured and killed for their faith. When I think of the persecuted church, I think of Act 12:5, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” What should stand out to all of us from this passage is the word earnestly, or some as translations put it, fervently. These words paint a picture of prayer through sweat and tears with passion and intense conviction.

    As we pray for justice for our brothers and sisters around the world, we must also pray for their faith to remain strong, even in the face of evil. We should pray for their protection and religious freedom, but we should also pray that the Lord would be glorified through the suffering of His children and that the church would continue to grow under such grievous circumstances.

     

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  • 1. Unity

    4. Our Government

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    Because there is division when it comes to politics, even in the church, it can be difficult to pray together for the leaders of our country. But even when we find ourselves being governed by people we disapprove of, we should still be talking to God about each and every one of them. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1, “I urge, then, first of all, that request, prayer, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for the kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Paul wrote these words while the notorious Roman emperor Nero was in power, a ruler known to be cruel and merciless. We should heed Paul’s words and follow this example.

    Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” When we pray as a church for our governing authorities we are not only asking for divine intervention, but we are also daring to become united. 1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” While we might not be like-minded when it comes to our politics, we can be like-minded when we pray for our government and ask that the Lord’s will be done and that He work in the hearts of our leaders in a way that will, in the end, bring Him glory.

     

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  • 1. Unity

    5. Marriages

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    While all marriages are in need of prayer, we should specifically keep the marriages of our preachers, teachers, elders, and deacons lifted before the Lord. Church leaders don’t only keep office hours, they also sacrifice their family time to attend to the needs of others, which can cause strain on their own marriages. When the marriage of a church leader fails, it can cause unbelievable damage and division to a church body that can take years to recover from.

    We must remember that a marriage is the joining together of two sinners in need of grace and in need of their church’s prayers. Whether a couple is newlywed or has been married for 75 years, they need prayer. Pray for the protection of their hearts, that they would be unified and like-minded and that they would continue to grow in knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and understanding. Praying for the marriages within your church family is an investment for the couple, for the church as a whole, and for the watchful eyes of younger generations.

     

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  • 1. Unity

    6. Singles

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    While there are many people groups within our church bodies that need prayer, it’s vital that we lift up our brothers and sisters living the single life. Some choose singleness, while others desperately want to be married and are discouraged by the waiting. There are singles who became so by divorce or by the death of their spouse. Regardless of the reason, even for those who choose it, singleness can be lonely, especially in the church where most activities seem to be geared for married couples or families.

    1 Corinthians 7 talks about the benefits of staying single, that in staying single our interests are not divided. A single person can concentrate fully on pleasing the Lord, where a married person wants to please the Lord but must also concentrate on pleasing their spouse. We must pray for this to penetrate our hearts and the hearts of the singles in our churches. We must remember the value and unique benefits of singleness and utilize the gifts of these individuals. We should pray that the singles in our churches would know their worth and purpose within the church body and celebrate the ways that only this group can work for the Kingdom.

     

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  • 1. Unity

    7. Youth

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    Every generation faces its own challenges, but it does seem that in our technologically advanced society, our youth are exposed to darkness in a way that no generation has been before. We must pray for our youth because they are God’s creation. Children are a blessing, and they deserve our prayers. We also must pray for them because, simply put, they are the future of the church, and the statistics on how many young adults leave the church are not only staggering but depressing.

    Many of us invest our money so that we can have a comfortable retirement. We invest in exercise equipment and supplements to keep our bodies strong. But are we investing in what really matters, the future of the church? If your church isn’t praying over the hearts and minds of the youth in your congregation, you are setting the church up for disaster and destruction. While the Lord’s will prevails in all circumstances, we are still invited to bring our requests to the throne, and praying for the spiritual growth of our youth is a must. Pray that the Lord would make Himself known to them at an early age and to give them such a passion for the gospel that future generations put us to shame with their zeal for the Lord!

     

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  • 1. Unity

    8. Addictions

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    When we think of addicts, we often picture someone who lives in a constant state of drunkenness or who is strung out on drugs. We forget that addictions can involve food, exercise, sex, pornography, gambling, shopping, and plastic surgery, just to name a few. Our churches are full of people with addictions that go unnoticed and unreached. Whether you pray for specific individuals or for addictions in general, this needs to be something the church prays for together. Praying for addictions as a church body not only brings the request before the Lord, but it also brings to mind the reality that so many people struggle in this way.

    Praying for addictions as a church body can also convict the hearts of those struggling with secret addictions and bring them to repentance. The ultimate goal is to free those who are bound by the bondage of addiction but in this prayer we must also ask God to show us, as a church, how to walk alongside someone who is moving towards recovery. We must ask God to show us how to love and respect the addict rather than judging and belittling them. Addicts still have worth and purpose within the church. Our prayer should be one of humility and sincerity when bringing them before the Lord.

     

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  • 1. Unity

    9. Missionaries

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    There are two types of missionaries we need to be praying for: those who have chosen the mission field as their vocation, and everyone else who follows Christ. You’re probably familiar with Matthew 9:37, when Jesus said to his disciples, “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” This verse should serve as a reminder to pray for workers; here, there, and everywhere.

    Whether serving overseas, in a developing country, or here in America, the basic needs of all missionaries are the same. Pray for an open door for the message of Christ (Colossians 4:2-3), for boldness and fearlessness (Ephesians 6:19), for protection from evildoers while spreading the gospel (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2), and for knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and strength (Colossians 1:9-11).

     

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  • 1. Unity

    10. Growing and Planting

    Slide 10 of 10

    All church bodies should be praying about numbers, but not because we want bragging rights on how many warm bodies are in the seats every Sunday morning. We should be praying for numbers because we long for more people to come to know Christ. While praying for growth in numbers, we must also go back to praying for growth in spiritual knowledge and wisdom, because it is our understanding of the gospel that drives us to share the good news with others.

    Romans 10:14 asks very important questions, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Praying for numbers and spiritual growth isn’t enough; we must pray for the kind of growth that raises up leaders and preachers so that we can plant new churches. In Titus 1:5 Paul says he left those in Crete with directions to appoint elders in every town, suggesting that they were planting churches in every town. Pastor Tim Keller says, “The continual planting of new congregations is the most crucial strategy for the growth of the body of Christ.” We must pray for growth and opportunities for planting.

     

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