How To Pray For A Church

How To Pray For A Church June 22, 2016

How can a believer pray for their church? What are some biblical examples?

The Command to Pray

To begin with, we’re command to pray. Jesus, in speaking with His disciples, “told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1) and the Apostle Paul adds, “that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (1st Tim 2:8). Do you seek the will of God? I hope so, but it’s plainly revealed in Scripture like in 1st Thessalonians where Paul writes that we should “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1st Thess 5:16-18). Since we know we have been commanded to pray, now what should we pray for as far as the church is concerned?

What to Pray

I am sure the leadership of the church would appreciate your prayers and so we ought to pray for those who are in positions of leadership in the local church that they might resist temptation and continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God’s Word so that they can pass on that biblical knowledge to those in the church but also that they provide godly leadership for the church in moving the kingdom of God forward and going out to seek those who are lost. Those in leadership positions of the church do a lot more than you might think behind the scenes and they are responsible to Christ for how the church is ran because it is Jesus’ church, not theirs. Someday, they will have to give an account on how they lead the church or failed in their leadership of the church. Jesus is the Head of the Church and the church leaders will have to give an account to Christ for how they did in serving the church and what they taught the church and the ministries (or lack thereof) of the church. We should also pray for God to open a door for the church to serve in whatever God’s will is for them to serve. For our church, God opened the prison doors for us to minister to prisoners that no one else would have anything to do with, but also for the local residents in a nursing home where they cannot go to church so the church goes to them. Ask God to make a way for His plan and purposes to be fulfilled in the local church and He will hear and answer that prayer, but don’t be surprised by what God does do.

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What Method to Pray

We are commanded to always be praying (as much as is practical) but what should we pray for or what type of things should we be praying for as far as the church is concerned? Paul answers that in Romans 12:2 where he tells the church to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” God expects the church to live lives that are pleasing to Him and to strive to live lives of holiness (not perfection) and reject heresy when they see it, read it, and hear it. Pray for church leadership to stand on the solid-rock of Jesus’ and the Bible and to not deviate from biblical doctrines. Many churches have focused on pleasing the members rather than pleasing God. Pray for God to be glorified in the church and in the members of the Body of Christ.

What not to Pray

Should we pray for persecution to stop? No, most missionaries I know never ask for prayers for the persecution to stop but to use persecution as a springboard to preach to those who don’t know Christ. In Philippians 1:12-13 Paul wrote, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” Paul’s major point is that “most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Phil 1:14). Did you catch that? Paul’s imprisonment advanced the gospel and emboldened others to preach it without fear. The few church missionaries we have never asked for the persecution to stop or all their physical limitations to be blessed. What they wanted us to pray for was that they would be bold in preaching the gospel and it would serve to advance the gospel.


If you are not praying for your local church, including the leadership and the membership, can I ask you why? It is vital that we be praying for one another because the world is increasingly growing more hostile to Christianity every day and the persecution is only going to get worse rather than better. Pray for God to be glorified in the church, even in persecution, and for her membership that someday we might hear “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34) but to “to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me” (Matt 25:41-43). Where are you at? Are you on the left or on the right? It makes all the difference in the world and in the world to come.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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