6 Ways Pastors Can Lead Their Churches To Emphasize Prayer

A significant problem in many churches is the lack of focus on prayer. There is a difference between being a church that sometimes prays and being a praying church. One thing is clear in the book of Acts; the early church was a praying church. If we want to follow their example, we must become churches that emphasize prayer. Here are 6 ways we can do that.

1- Incorporate Intentional Prayer into the Worship Service

I know, you already pray in your worship services, but in many churches prayer is a good transition, a good opening, or a good closing to the service. Prayer must play a more vital role in our worship services.

Incorporating times of intentional prayer will demonstrate your belief in the importance and power of prayer.

2- Have Regular Meetings for Prayer that Emphasize God Working in and Through the Church

For years, most churches had a Wednesday evening prayer meeting. What started as a way to pray for God to move and to work in and through his church, turned into a time to pray for the same physical needs of people in the church, week after week. While it is certainly not wrong to pray for physical needs, the focus shifted off of praying for God to work.

Have times of prayer that are focused on asking God to work as only he can.

3- Preach a Sermon Series on Prayer

Perhaps prayer is not a focus because people have not been taught that it is to be a focus. Preaching a sermon series on prayer in the early church can help the congregation see the importance of prayer and the power of prayer.

4- Start a Prayer Ministry Team

There are many people in the church who will pray daily and specifically for the church if they are simply challenged, encouraged, and equipped to do so. Here is what to do:

  • Communicate the need for people to be on a prayer ministry team.
  • Build a list of people who have committed to pray for the church daily.
  • Have your prayer list structured so that it mirrors the stated purposes of your church.
  • Pass out or e-mail those people a list of specific ways they can pray for the church that week.
  • Celebrate answered prayer.

5- Incorporate Prayer into Every Meeting

If prayer is, in part, demonstrating reliance on God and not ourselves, then every meeting needs to intentionally incorporate prayer – not in a way that is just going through the motions, but in a way that says “we needs God’s guidance and wisdom.”

6- Have a Quarterly 24-hour Prayer Focus

Churches will sometimes do this when there is a major need or event taking place, such as looking for a new pastor, planning a major evangelistic event, or interceding on behalf of others who are facing tragedy. But why not do this on a regular basis? Have people sign up for 30-minute time slots and commit to pray for the church during that time. Prayer is not only needed for special events; it is needed at all times.

People often wonder about the secret to Charles Spurgeon’s powerful preaching. I am convinced it is the fact that there would be as may as 700 people gathered together praying for him, his preaching, and his church before almost every service.

Prayer needs to be at the center of the church. It needs to be a focal point for the church. It is to be the source of power in the church. We desperately need to get back to emphasizing prayer in our local churches.

What are some ways you emphasize prayer in your church? Please comment below.

5 Specific Things Pastors Should Pray For Their Church

Most pastors I know spend time in prayer each week specifically for their churches. While the list of items for which a pastor should pray is seemingly endless, there are some things that should specifically be part of a pastor’s prayers. Here are five of them:

1- Ongoing Unity

A lack of unity will destroy a church. It will cripple the church’s witness, harm the Christian’s testimony, and divide the congregation. On the other hand, unity can propel a ministry forward. Unity can multiply ministry effectiveness, create joy, and further the church’s testimony in the community.Without unity a church has no real future. With unity a church has limitless possibilities.

Pray that God would help this unity be a reality.

2- That Equipping Would Take Place

According to Ephesians 4:12, a primary responsibility of pastors is the equipping of the saints. However, it is easy for pastors to get so busy doing ministry that they fail to do the work of equipping. When this happens the overall long-term effectiveness of the church is hindered.If equipping does not take place, the church’s growth and effectiveness will be limited.

Pray that God would help your leadership focus on the ministry of equipping.

3- Kingdom Impact

The goal should be to grow God’s kingdom, not ours. Yet, it is so easy to slip into the mindset that says ‘since my church is growing, we are making a kingdom impact.’ That is not always the case. It is possible to have a growing church with many activities, but not truly be focused on building God’s kingdom.Without actively pursuing kingdom impact we run the risk of being busy but not truly effective.

Pray that kingdom impact would be a focus and goal for all in your church.

4- Partnerships

In order to have a greater kingdom impact, we must be committed to developing ministry partnerships. In Philippians 1, Paul says that the church at Philippi partnered with him for the sake of the gospel. This partnership, he said, created joy. We need to work with other churches, ministries, and pastors for the sake of kingdom growth.

Pray that God would bring liked-minded ministries across your path and that your church would partner with them for the sake of gospel advancement.

5- Loyalty to Truth

I’m not talking about just having an accurate doctrinal statement on your church’s website. I’m talking about having a commitment to Truth that permeates everything you do. This mentality should drive decision-making, ministry direction, and stances on morality. Loyalty to Truth leads a church to focus on God’s Word. They want to know it, understand it apply it, and share it with others.

Pray that your church would continually focus on God’s Truth.

There are certainly many more things about which pastors should pray, but these are five things that should always be a focus in our prayers for our churches.

Praying for the Persecuted Church

When viewed in light of the persecution that many Christians are facing on a daily basis in various parts of the world, Hebrews 13:3 is a powerful verse. This verse instructs us to remember those who are in prison and mistreated.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

How often do we think about those who are in prison because of their faith? How frequently do we pray for those who are mistreated because they are living out their relationship with Christ?

It is difficult to relate to people who are experiencing something that we have never experienced. However, the instruction of this verse is to do all we can to identify with those in need, to try and put ourself in their place.

We know that if we were starving, we would want someone to feed us, and that if we were in prison, we would want to be helped.

So how can we be obedient to this verse? Here are a few ideas.

1- Remember that there are people in many parts of the world who are facing persecution because of their faith. Do not ignore this reality.

2- Take time in your worship services to pray for the persecuted church. 

3- Send help when it is possible to do so.

4- Give to organizations that work to relieve the suffering of those being persecuted.

These are just a few ideas. However, we cannot fall into the trap of doing nothing. To do so would be to ignore the instruction of this verse.