10 Scriptures to Pray for Your Church

Church is a family
 
It is our privilege to come into God’s throne room to intercede and lift up our church and its leaders. Church is not a place, it’s a body. It is family, with blood ties through Jesus Christ. Join me in regularly and faithfully praying for God’s hand, presence and work in our local churches. Use these 10 Scriptures as a beginning guide.
 
Pray that the church stays true to God’s message – and we proclaim it whether or not it’s convenient.
Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.
– 2 Timothy 4:2
Lord Jesus, compel us as a church to proclaim Your truth and preach Your message. It won’t always be easy, and it may not be convenient. But Jesus, Your words are life to us. Use Your Word to rebuke us, correct us and encourage us — and let us follow you as we hold each other accountable. Only You can give us great patience and the words to teach. We fully depend on You! Amen.
 
Pray that the church would be deeply committed to seeking God in prayer.
Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.
– Colossians 4:2
Jesus, twice You cleared the Temple in righteous anger, because Your house was to be a house of prayer. Help us not to take that lightly. Lord, direct us to our knees, and seal our commitment and desire to be devoted to communing with You in prayer. Let our church be known as a house of prayer. Keep us awake, alert. Fill our hearts with joy no matter the circumstances as we come to You as a church body in prayer. Amen.
 
Pray that the church will boldly share Jesus — the ONLY way and ONLY hope!
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.
– Acts 4:12
Savior, fill us with Your Spirit to boldly proclaim there is salvation in no one else but You! Through our church, shout Your name, lift up Your name for all to hear and all to see. Jesus, Your name is above all names. Only You can save! Keep us committed to sharing Your salvation and Your beautiful, wonderful, life-changing, eternity-altering name. Compel us to boldly speak Your name! Because of Your Name, and in Your Name we pray, Amen.
 
Pray that the church will worship, adore and praise God, in spirit and in truth.
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
– John 4:24
Lord, forgive us for worshiping what is not You. Direct our hearts to understand the fullness of Your character, Your heart, and Your truth. Open us up to fully live out our adoration of You, as a church family. Help us to honor You with our lives, and within the life and ministry of the church. Teach us how to worship You in spirit and in truth. You are holy, You are righteous, and You are absolutely worthy. Amen.
 
Pray for the church leaders to follow Christ, and serve humbly. Pray for protection of their witness and example.
Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
– 1 Peter 5:2-3
God Almighty, we lift up our church leaders to You. We pray for our pastors and ministers, elders and deacons, teachers and ministry leaders. Instill shepherd hearts in them. Inspire them to dig deep into Your Word and root their lives in You alone. Protect their families and time with their families. We pray for humility as they lead, pouring out Your grace and generosity in them and through them. Preserve their witness – lead them as they walk with You, and give them the capacity to showcase Your love, mercy and forgiveness. Provide accountability as they lead us, and compel us to be faithful to stand in the gap for them. We praise You for the leaders You have raised up in this church! Amen.
 
Pray for the church’s dedication and perseverance to press believers onto maturity in discipleship.
We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.
– Colossians 1:28-29
Jesus, we confess as a church that we want to know You more. We commit to prioritize discipleship, to actively participate in the study of God’s Word, personally and corporately. God, come alongside us, and mold and make us to become more like Jesus. May our leaders labor and strive to present this body mature in Christ. Help us to grow! Give us a passion and zeal for the Bible and prayer — feed us, strengthen us and move us when necessary so that we are men and women of faith, full of grace and truth. Amen.
 
Pray for more servants to join Jesus in His Kingdom work.
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
– Matthew 9:37-38
Savior, open our eyes to the harvest before us. Lead us as a church to go out in the fields and get to work. We pray that you raise up men, women and children to make disciples here and around the world. Show this church how to be involved in Your Kingdom work, and motivate us to get to it. You are our Lord — and we will follow You! May your Holy Spirit give us the power to preach the Gospel to all creation, to make disciples of all nations, to care for the widows and orphans, to be Your hands and feet. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
 
Pray that church leaders prepare and equip believers for service.
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.
– Ephesians 4:11-12
Lord God, encourage our church leaders – and reinforce their calling and commitment to serve You. Give them the wisdom, knowledge, fortitude and zeal to train and equip the believers to be the church. Pour into them, and guide them as they pour into us. Lord, You are the master builder, and we pray that You supernaturally gift our leaders to build up the body of Christ. Amen.
 
Pray that the church clings to its first love.
But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.
– Revelation 2:4-5
Jesus, we can only love because You first loved us. You gave Yourself for us. We are YOUR body. We are nothing without You. Do not allow us as a church to take You or Your message of redemption for granted. Deepen our love. Show us how to love. We proclaim as a church that we love You!! You are our God! We want no one but You! Show us where we have failed. Bring us to repentance. Forgive us! You are our first, and only love, dear Jesus. 
 
Pray that the church will trust Jesus to grow the church, in His way and in His power.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.
– Matthew 16:18
Jesus, build us, strengthen us, grow our faith. This is YOUR church. You created us. We are Yours. Use this church as YOU will, not as we will. Do what only You can do. We claim this promise: the forces of Hell will not overcome Your church. We stand in faith, covered in Your armor and armed with Your Word. You are our source of life and strength. We find sure footing, security and victory in the all-powerful, supreme King of Kings and Lord of Lords — Our Savior Jesus Christ! It’s in Your almighty name we pray, Amen.
 
 

*This post is adapted and expanded from http://neuething.org/10-scriptures-to-pray-for-the-church/

The love of Jesus wrapped up in a shoebox

Lauren and Jackson sit under our Thankful Tree with the shoeboxes they packed for Operation Christmas Child.

What if we could send Jesus’ love directly to a child on the other side of the world who desperately needs to know God is real and He deeply cares for them? What if through one simple gift, we could be a part in introducing a young person to the life-changing Gospel?

Missions is personal, just like God’s grace. When God gave us the Great Commission, He didn’t intend for us to just give money and let other people do the work. God wants us to get our hands dirty, to be directly involved in sharing His message of hope with people all over the globe who Jesus died on the cross to save.

That’s why my family has wholeheartedly taken on the ministry of Operation Christmas Child.

OCC_logoThe world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child, uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 124 million children affected by war, poverty, natural disasters, and other crises in more than 150 countries and territories. They then partner with local churches to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who receive shoebox gifts and help them understand what it means to follow the Lord and share their faith with others. This nondenominational ministry is part of Samaritan’s Purse, led by Franklin Graham. For more on this amazing mission endeavor, visit www.samaritanspurse.com/occ.

I remember packing shoeboxes when I was a kid with my family, but as an adult, I didn’t continue my participation in the ministry. I had been praying this fall about how my husband and I could do missions with our kids, when God arranged for me to reconnect with an amazing woman of God who really mentored me in ministry when Matt and I were first married. She is a regional coordinator for Operation Christmas Child (OCC), and invited me to revisit OCC’s vision. My heart beats for evangelism and international missions, and God swung the door open wide for me to join in and be a part of impacting children around the world. God brought together an amazing team from my church to serve alongside, and our church has refreshed our involvement in OCC and is a drop-off location for shoeboxes in our community, the first here in our town!

When I was reviewing promotional videos for OCC at home trying to decide which ones to show at church, my son Jackson began to watch with me. At one point, I turned around to see if he was still interested, and he was crying. God had touched his heart with the thought that our shoebox gifts could introduce these children to Jesus, and how the gifts could make a difference in their lives. He bought into the vision.

Lauren loved shopping for the gifts to fill our shoeboxes. She went with me several times to pick up items, and thought about what they would mean to the child who would receive them. In fact, over the course of the last few months as I have been involved in the organizational planning for OCC locally, she shared her excitement with her teacher at school, and her Kindergarten class is packing two special boxes.

I love this ministry because our family can be hands-on with missions. We can know our boxes will impact lives. That children somewhere else in the world, perhaps hurting, hungry, alone and in difficult situations, will know that there is a family out there who loves them and wanted to share a shoebox full of gifts with them. And if someone loved them enough to do that, maybe, just maybe, there is a God out there who loves them, too.

Operation Christmas Child is praying for 11 million boxes to send to children in need around the world in 2015. This morning, my church family came together and brought our boxes forward to dedicate them and pray over them. I just wanted to cry out in praise to see people of all ages, from young to old, bring their gifts to the altar asking God to use these boxes and to use them personally to bring God glory. Each box represents a life that we pray will be impacted for eternity.

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is Nov. 16-23. It’s not too late to pack a box and drop it off at collection centers around the country (find one closest to you)!! You can also go online and build a shoebox – an easy way to be a part of this ministry.

We can bring good news and great joy to children around the world. As we join in the ministry of Operation Christmas Child, we are sending the love of Jesus wrapped up in a shoebox to a child who needs to experience Him.