In my last post (read it here), I shared 9 reasons why your pastor may need your prayer support now more than ever. But he’s not the only one. Due to the ongoing pandemic and other challenges facing the church and our nation, your church is in urgent need of prayer as well. Here are 9 reasons why your church may need your prayers now more than ever:
- Praying for your church is biblical. James 5:16 commands believers to “pray for one another.” The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21), for the Philippian church (Phil. 1:9-11), for the church at Colossae (Col. 1:9-14), and for the church at Thessalonica (1 Thess. 3:11-13). Luke describes the early church as being “devoted to prayer” (Acts 2:42) and we see examples of effective prayer for boldness (Acts 4:23-31). Whenever you pray for your fellow church members, you’re following a biblical pattern.
- Many in your church family may be lonely. Due to their heightened vulnerability, the pandemic has caused many senior saints to self-quarantine for extended lengths of time. For these brothers and sisters, attending worship services was one of the few times they left their homes before the pandemic, and now that has been taken away. This has led many to struggle with loneliness. But it’s not only limited to them. Because many in-person small groups have been put on hold, you may have other individuals and families in your church who haven’t seen some of their best friends for months. Therefore, pray that the Lord will comfort those battling loneliness.
- Many in your church family may be depressed. Because of loneliness and some of the other reasons discussed below, it’s likely that many in your church are battling depression. Whenever someone loses something of value, there’s a grieving process that takes place. All of us lost our sense of normalcy a few months ago, and some have had more difficulty adjusting than others. Pray that the God of all comfort will comfort those who are struggling with depression and sadness (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
- Many in your church family may be worried. This pandemic is full of unknowns. Will I contract the coronavirus? If so, will I survive? Will they develop a vaccine anytime soon? Will our economy ever recover? Will our church recover? These unknowns are largely out of our hands, and so we tend to worry about them. However, Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything, but to go the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving, trusting that He is in control (see Phil. 4:4-7). You see, faith and worry are complete opposites. The more faith and trust we have in the Lord, the less we will be consumed with worry. Similarly, the less faith and trust we have in the Lord, the more we will be consumed with worry. Therefore, pray that the Lord will increase the faith of your church family as you reflect on His Word and His promises.
- Your church family is experiencing rapid change. I think it’s safe to say that most churches have experienced more change over the past few months than most of us have ever experienced before. While some of these changes (such as an online presence) have been needed for some time, others have been quite disruptive. Whether positive or negative, change is hard. Therefore, pray that your church will continue to be flexible in the days ahead.
- Your church family may be experiencing division. Some members of your church believe that you shouldn’t reopen until there’s a vaccine. Some members believe that your church should never have closed its doors in the first place. Some believe the pandemic is a conspiracy; some believe it is a serious medical crisis. Some think that masks should be required; some think it should be an individual’s choice. You probably have an opinion about all of these issues. It’s very likely that some of your fellow church members see things differently. Pray that your church will remain unified during these days when there’s so many potential causes for division.
- Some in your church family may be drifting. I’ve referenced this several times before, but recent studies have shown that nearly 1 out of 3 church members have not attended in-person worship services or viewed online services since the pandemic began. This means there’s a strong likelihood that some of your fellow church members are drifting away. Pray that the Lord would draw them to Himself and His church, and that they would hear His voice and respond.
- Many in your church family may be frustrated. For all of these and other reasons, many in the church are frustrated. I wrote another post about this topic a few weeks ago (you can read it here), so I won’t go into the details here. Just pray that your church family will deal with their frustrations in a way that honors the Lord.
- Your church family is being sanctified. There’s no doubt that your church is facing significant challenges right now. However, God often uses adversity for sanctifying purposes. James reminds us to “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). Pray that the Lord would use this pandemic to sanctify your church so that you will be strengthened for fruitful ministry in the days ahead!
There are certainly other reasons to pray for your church, but I’ll stop here. Take a few minutes right now and pray for your church family. They may need your prayer support right now more than ever before!