5 P's to Pray for Your Church
Recently, I have felt the Lord’s conviction concerning my prayer life. I desire deep communion with God, yet spend little time in prayer. I desire a deeper compassion for others, yet pray little for them. I may be alone in this, but I don’t believe that is the case. So, to start this new year, I thought I might offer a few ideas of how you can pray for your church. We should be praying for our church, but what should we pray?
Before I get into specific requests, let me remind you that to pray for your church is to pray for people, not an institution. To pray for the church is to pray for the people of the church. Picture faces while you pray through these requests.
Purity (from sin)
Very recently, it happened again. My wife got a call. And my phone rang a few minutes later. I didn’t recognize the number but the moment I heard the voice, I knew what was coming. Unfortunately, this happened too many times. Another life of secret sin that God, in His grace, revealed.
We strive to look our best on Sundays. Most Sundays we don’t arrive having just rolled out of bed. We muster up smiles and ask surface questions. The reality, though, is quite different. Our churches are full of secret sin, broken marriages, suicidal thoughts, and secret indulgences. Because of this we must be vigilantly praying for the purity of the church. Unaddressed sin is like leaven which will eventually leaven the whole lump (1 Cor 5:6). Sin always seeks to defile to the uttermost and bring down as many as it can in its path of destruction. Entreat the Lord that our churches would be pure.
Priority (on the main purpose)
Temptations abound to veer churches from their main purpose of existence. Too quickly and too easily, the church loses its focus and gets sidetracked into any number of things. Politics, social agendas, money-making, and fame are just a few enticements that lure the church from its purpose: The spread of the Gospel and the discipleship of the elect. The mission is simple (Matt. 28:19-20). Pray that your church would stay faithful to the Great Commission!
Protection (from false teachers and false teaching)
The New Testament indicates that one of the greatest dangers for the church would be false teachers and their teaching. Paul warned the Ephesian elders of their inevitable arrival (Acts 20:30). Peter echoed the same idea (2 Pet 2:1-3), and Jude points out that they had already arrived (Jude 4). Less than twenty years after the church’s beginning false teachers had infiltrated the ranks. Two thousand years later - the situation has worsened. False teaching flows through podcasts and ascends the airwaves on the radio. It is posted on social media and promoted by the “Christian community.” The Christian book store stocks its shelves with it, and pulpit after pulpit proclaims its message. This year it is important that you consider praying for God’s protection for your church from the influence of false teachers and their lies.
Progress (for the Gospel)
When asked about the church’s success, Spurgeon attributed it all to the “boiler room” of the church. While he preached, the “boiler room” met to pray for the spirit to through the preaching. The Metropolitan Tabernacle understood prayer’s essential role is the furtherance of Gospel work. As churches, we plan and project, but pray little. We nod our heads in approval to the idea that any success comes from God’s power. Yet our prayer for Him to work seems to show little conviction in that truth. Paul, who was arguably the most successful evangelist, theologian, and missionary in church history, understood the role of prayer in the progress of the Gospel (2 Thess 3:1). Pray that God would progress the Gospel in your church and community.
Perseverance (in the face of difficulty)
Each new year brings with it a new series of trials and difficulties for a church. Setbacks, unexpected tragedies, and unforeseen circumstances can whittle a church down to just a shadow of its former vitality. Instead of waiting for whatever to come, be proactively praying. Pray for the leadership to endure the fallout from making right, but difficult decisions. Pray for the church to persevere in Christ as it faces opposition and hardship. This year, lift up your church so that it may continue to persevere for the praise and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Will you commit to praying the 5 P’s for your church this year? I think if you do, you just might be surprised at what the Lord will do in 2017!
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