Praying for the church

This Lent, as we focus so much on Jesus (for good reason!), it’s also a great time to focus on what Jesus thought was important enough to do right before he was arrested, beaten, and crucified. He prayed for the church.

Often, I think we are so used to driving by the church, going to the church, or praying in church that we forget to pray for the church.

Using some of the same thoughts as Jesus prayed in John chapter 17, here are ten points to pray for your church. But not only the people in the building where you worship; this is for all believers all over the world, whether they belong to your congregation or not.

Let’s pray that believers . . . 

  1. would know God and bring him glory. “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (verses 3,4).
  2. accept Jesus’ words. “I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me” (verse 8).
  3. are protected and unified. “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one” (verse 11).
  4. have the full measure of joy. “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (verse 13).
  5. would not be like the world, but protected as we live in and witness to the world. “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (verses 14,15).
  6. are set apart by the Word. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (verses 17-19).
  7. are unified in faith—both current and future believers. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (verse 20).
  8. would witness to the world. “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (verse 23).
  9. see Jesus face-to-face. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (verse 24).
  10. be filled with the Father’s love. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (verses 25,26).

Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who is praying for the whole Christian church.