When my church gathers, we always pray.
As senior pastor, I understand that it is my responsibility to lead church member in prayer and to teach church members how to pray. I lead and teach in several ways, but one of the methods I have used for a while now is rotating through a list of topics for prayer.
If I am the one praying a prayer of supplication, I jot down several bulletpoints beforehand to guide my prayer, including a selection of topics from my prayer list. I use this list to keep me from praying the same things every time and to keep me from forgetting many things I ought to be praying for.
The list provides me with a variety of good and important topics, and rotating through the list ensures that I’ll hit on many of them over the course of a fairly brief period of time.
If I ask someone else to pray a prayer of supplication, I choose one or more topics from this prayer list and assign the topic(s) to the person. These people enjoy the same benefits as I do, and I am teaching them about what kinds of things they should be praying for by assigning them prayer topics.
This practice keeps our public prayers from becoming a laundry list of physical ailments or an opportunity for subtle gossip, and it also teaches our whole congregation how to pray and what to pray about.
My own pastoral prayer list is a compilation of topics I’ve borrowed from other pastors or added for myself. I cannot take any credit for creativity and insight you might find in this list, but I do take great comfort in the fact that I haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel.
Feel free to use this entire template or any portion of it to your own benefit or that of your church family.
General Topics for Churches and Communities
- Pray for the regular preaching of God’s word.
- Pray for elders/pastors and deacons.
- Pray for husbands to bless their wives, and parents to bless the children in their charge.
- Pray for those who are having a hard time integrating into the church family (making new connections).
- Pray for widows and widowers in our church.
- Pray for salvation for our parents, our siblings, our children, and our grandchildren.
- Pray for us to live lives of both justice and mercy.
- Pray for our younger members to regularly reach out to our older members to check on them.
- Pray for those with prolonged chronic sickness.
- Pray for those who are fainthearted and discouraged.
- Pray for politicians and civil servants.
- Pray for families and single members to build good relationships.
- Pray for God to convict and draw to Himself those who are lost in immorality.
- Pray for God to knit us together as a church family, despite our differences in age, life experience, and preferences.
- Pray for us to rejoice in God’s work in other churches, and to speak of His work among us only with the deepest humility.
- Pray for persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
- Pray and thank God for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Tim 2:1-2).
- Pray about a point from the morning sermon.
- Pray for intentional and growing discipling efforts among members.
- Pray for evangelistic efforts (gospel conversations) with family, friends, and/or neighbors.
- Pray for freedom from bondage to sinful thoughts, words, and/or deeds (greed, pride, anger, lust, idolatry, lethargy).
- Pray for more godly men to take personal responsibility for the shepherding care of fellow church members.
- Pray for our retired members.
- Pray for us to have boldness in gospel conversations and conversions as a result
- Pray for our children and teens.
Church Membership among My Own Church
- Pray that people would see relationships in the local church as part of what it means to be a Christian.
- Pray that people would understand the need to make their relationships here transparent, to ask and answer careful, loving questions.
- Pray that people would expect conversations with other church members often to be deep, and often theological in nature.
- Pray that people would think it important to encourage each other with Scripture.
- Pray that people would see part of being a Christian as being a provider, and not a consumer.
- Pray that people don’t see service in the local church as being primarily about meeting their own felt needs by utilizing their giftedness but about bringing God glory.
- Pray that people would not see it as unusual when their lives become increasingly centered around the local church.
- Pray that people would see it as unusual when a member’s life seems to keep church on the periphery.
- Pray that people would see hospitality as an important part of being a Christian.
- Pray that church members would be humble and quick to rejoice when we talk about other churches and their members.
Discipling among My Own Church
- Pray that our congregation would care well for our youth, particularly, our teens, working to build discipling relationships with teenagers and coming alongside parents in the building up of their sons’ and daughters’ faith.
- Pray that our teenagers would be open to, and even seek out, discipling relationships with young adults in the church.
- Pray that parents of teenagers in the church would wisely and purposefully encourage and choose discipling relationships for their sons and daughters with members of our church.
- Pray that our church would be faithful in its members’ purposeful investment in the lives of teenagers inside the church.
- Pray that many of our members would make the discipleship of teenagers in our church one of their primary ministries
Financial Faithfulness among My Own Church
- Pray that more of our members would give, and more would be able to give more.
- Pray that we would be overwhelmed by how much Christ has given us.
- Pray that we would give cheerfully, not out of guilt or obligation.
- Pray that we would be wise in how much we decide to give.
- Pray that we would give regularly, deliberately and proportionately.
- Pray that we would gladly part with what our world values in order to take hold of what God values.
- Pray that our church would be wise in how it stewards our gifts.
- Pray that our giving would show God to be good, delightful, and generous.
- Pray that God would bring to fruit the hopes that we have for every line in our church’s current budget.
Marc Minter is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Diana, TX. He and his wife, Cassie, have two sons, Micah and Malachi.