There are many truisms about prayer. God answers prayer. Prayer changes things. There is power in prayer. You get the idea. Some almost seem cliche. I’ve even heard some that sound good but don’t hold up under biblical scrutiny. Here is one that applies specifically to church revitalization. Prayer is foundational for any church hoping to experience revitalization. So, whether you are the pastor of a revitalizing church or a member, here are five ways to pray for your church in 2020.
1. Pray for the unity of the Spirit
A lack of unity is a common characteristic in declining churches. There are often competing agendas. Personal preferences abound. Alliances have been formed. God establishes unity in the church. It is our job to maintain it. So pray for members “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
2. Pray for protection from the enemy’s fiery darts
Whenever a church is experiencing revitalization, the enemy takes notice. He takes notice because Jesus is reclaiming his glory in the church. And the devil does not want that to happen. Revitalization is spiritual warfare. So pray for protection. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
3. Pray for members to function as the body of Christ
God has placed every member of your church in the body according to his design. Regrettably, there are many churches functioning at less than capacity because so many members are not fulfilling their role. “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (1 Corinthians 12:18).
4. Pray for workers to go into the harvest
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). Be careful how you pray for this. It is highly likely that the Lord will remind you that you are in fact the answer to your own prayer!
5. Pray for the people around your church
Drive slowly through the neighborhood. If you see someone outside, stop and ask them how you can pray for them. If it is safe, you may even want to knock on a few doors. “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
At Huffman Baptist Church where I serve as senior pastor, we have asked our people to pray for the church every morning at 7:00. We chose 7:00 because the address of the church is 700 Huffman Road. The time is not nearly as important as the consistency of praying. I am hoping our folks will pray these five ways during 2020. What other ways would you add to the list?