My Pastoral Prayer List

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.

Connect with Marc on Twitter or Facebook.

The Psalms of the Day

Have you ever read the Psalms of the day?

The Bible helps us to express our emotions and focus our prayer, and this is especially true of the Psalms. What does godly sorrow sound like? How should we pray for those who are overtly attacking us? Where can we find genuine words of contrition and repentance? All of this, and much more, is in the Psalms.

I highly recommend reading the Psalms of the day. This method of daily Bible reading can be especially helpful if you are going through a tough time, if you are struggling to pray meaningfully, or if you want to grow in your love for God and your awareness of His presence and provision.

You might be thinking, “Alright, I’d like to do this, but what in the world are the Psalms of the day?” Let me offer a brief explanation.

There are 150 Psalms. Divide that by 5, and you get 30.

There are usually 30-31 days each month (Feb is the exception). So, you start by reading the Psalm number that corresponds to today’s date. The date of this post is 10/01/2019, so you would begin with Psalm 1.

Then you add 30 to the day’s date and read that Psalm. Then you add another 30, and so on until you run out of Psalms.

On the first day of the month, the readings are Psalms 1, 31, 61, 91, and 121.

On the second day, the readings are Psalms 2, 32, 62, 92, and 122.

You get the idea.

This method of reading the Psalms would have you through the whole book of Psalms in a single month. I’ve found this method a great way to lead family Bible readings, and the Psalms are a marvelous place to turn for personal devotions as well.

May God bless your reading of His word, and may your hope in Him grow deeper and stronger with every reading.

A note about Psalm 119:

Since Psalm 119 is quite lengthy (you can read it in about 10-20 minutes), you could read Psalm 119 alone on the 31st of those months with 31 days.

Or you might notice that Psalm 119 is broken down into 22 sections (one section for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet), and you could devise some other method for reading through Psalm 119 along with your other daily readings. For example, you might read one section on each weekday of the month along with the other Psalms of the day.

Marc Minter is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Diana, TX. He and his wife, Cassie, have two sons, Micah and Malachi.

Connect with Marc on Twitter or Facebook.

Distinct Christian Prayer

Many people pray, and not just Christians. It seems that prayer, talking to someone or something greater than ourselves, is natural to humanity. Christian prayer, however, is quite peculiar and unnatural. While Christians offer petitions of hope and desire, the same as non-Christians, Christians pray with a distinctive approach and goal.

The Christian knows that his or her only basis for acceptance before God is the person and work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, his or her approach to God is as heavenly Father by way of adoption through Christ. Such an approach is by sheer grace and divine mercy.

The Christian also understands that God’s will is wiser and truer than his or her own desires. He or she knows that God is always working towards better ends, as a good heavenly Father. Therefore, his or her goal in prayer is not so much to get something from God but to align himself or herself to the will of God being worked out in the world.

May God not only teach us to pray but may He also create within us an unnatural desire to pray as fervent and sincere Christians.

Do you pray with desperation?

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).

All Christians know they should pray, and even non-Christians often find some comfort or significance in a kind of prayer. But all prayer is not the same, and prayer is certainly more than mere good wishes. In fact, Jesus provides a model prayer that gives us great insight and help for our own practice of prayer.

Focusing on the eternal God, the Lord’s prayer is a desperate outcry to the good and sovereign King. It is no dispassionate or distant plea, however, for the King is also called “our Father.” Christians are welcomed into the kindly and gracious presence of their maker, sustainer, savior, and rewarder. Such an experience is nearly too much to comprehend. And yet, this experience is available to all Christians at every moment of every day.

However, our awareness of our own desperate need for God is not usually as keen as it should be. So, Christians often wait until moments of crisis and pain to lean upon God’s tireless strength and provision.

Oh, may God make us aware of our great need in order that we might be a praying people. And may God work in the prayers of His people to bring about His good purposes in the world.

Marked by Prayer and Love

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…” (Ephesians 1:15-16).

Those who trust and believe in Jesus as Savior are marked by love for one another. This is especially true in the context of a local church family. When a connected group of Christians grow in their understanding of the Gospel, their loving embrace of one another becomes an increasingly powerful bond.

Many Christians know that prayer and love are things they should do, but sometimes we may struggle to understand exactly what that looks like. Simply put, our love for one another grows out of Christ’s love for us, and our love is put into action by prayerfully engaging one another.

Local church family is a rich and beautiful concept in the Bible. While it is certainly challenging, it is also highly rewarding. Those Christians who desire meaningful relationship with Christ will know that such a thing will inevitably correspond with loving and prayerful relationships with other Christians in Gospel-centered community together.

Praying with a Purpose

Since my first experience of cross-cultural missions (about 15 years ago), I have been inescapably drawn towards this sort of effort. I have had multiple opportunities for Gospel ministry in countries and cultures other than my own, and each time I teeter on the brink of selling everything I have and relocating my family to some distant land. The logistical realities and my wife’s soft reluctance have been sufficient to keep me from taking the radical plunge.

Like my prayer-life in general, my prayers for missional efforts are not systematic. I do pray regularly, and I am in prayerful thought for much of each day (not audibly, but cognitively relying upon God, thanking Him, pleading with Him, and such). However, my prayers are based on circumstance or a recent increase in awareness of some biblical truth. I learn of a friend’s difficulty, and I trust God’s providence while asking for His mercy. I feel the pressure of life upon my own shoulders, and I run to the refuge of God’s grace and care. I notice the temptation to sin and even indulge my evil desires, and I lament such foolishness while resting in God’s love and patience with me.

Similarly, I have also prayed for missional efforts sporadically, when I become aware of a particular effort or obstacle. Right now, I have spent some time praying for evangelistic efforts in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. My church family and I have partnered with churches in the Vale for almost three years, and this week is the mission trip of 2017. I was not able to be present on this trip, but my heart and thoughts are with the rest of the team. However, I have become increasingly aware of the need for a more systematic approach to prayer (and all spiritual disciplines generally).

Using the resources at www.operationworld.com, I am reminded of the great need for Gospel ministry around the world and the great need for insulated Christians (like those in western cultures) to remember the real spiritual difficulties we all face. In my rural, East Texas community, it is highly unlikely that I will face religious persecution of any real substance. It is easy for me to fall into a rut in my thinking about Gospel mission and sacrificial engagement. A little spat between church members or some budgetary difficulty is put into better perspective when I remember that some Christians in the world right now are following Christ in the face of an imminent threat to their very lives.

With God’s help, and by His grace, I will take a more systematic approach to prayer from now on. I also plan to lead my family to do the same. May God grant us love for Him, that we may serve Him and others well.

Enjoying God in Prayer

The Valley of Vision is a collection of old prayers that exemplify intentionality, passion, and a Bible focus in prayer. The language can seem foreign to modern readers since it resembles a loftier tongue of days gone by. And yet, the content of these prayers is of such high quality that modern Christians will no doubt benefit from such examples.

Here is how I prayed, in my own words, the prayer entitled “God Enjoyed.”

Oh God, You are the incomprehensible and prayer-hearing God.

You are known and You are beyond knowledge, revealed but unrevealed; my wants and welfare compel me to bring these requests to You, for You have never said, “If you seek Me you will not find Me.”

To You, I come in my difficulties, my necessities, and my distresses; possess me with Yourself, with a spirit of grace and supplication, with a prayerful attitude of mind, and with access into warm fellowship, so that in the ordinary concerns of life my thoughts and desires may rise to You. In habitual devotion help me to find a resource that will soothe my sorrows, sanctify my successes, and qualify me in always for dealing with my fellowmen.

In habitual devotion help me to find a resource that will soothe my sorrows, sanctify my successes, and teach me to live well with others.

I bless You that You have made me capable of knowing You – the author of all being. You have given me the ability to resemble You – the perfection of all excellency. You have made me desirous of enjoying You – the source of all happiness.

Oh God, attend to me and accompany me in every part of my arduous and trying pilgrimage.

I need the same counsel, the same defense, and the same comfort that I found in You at my beginning.

Let my holiness and devotion to You be increasingly obvious to my conscience and more perceptible to those around me. While Jesus is representing me in heaven, may I reflect Him on earth; while He pleads my cause, may I show forth His praise.

Continue the gentleness of Your goodness towards me; and whether I wake or sleep let Your presence go with me, Your blessings attend me.

You have led me and I have found Your promises true; I have been sorrowful but You have been my help; I have been fearful but You have delivered me; I have been in despair but You have lifted me up.

Your promises are ever upon me, filling my mind and comforting my heart.

I praise You, O God.