Over the last few years, my prayer life has been strengthened by regularly using Jonathan Leeman’s list of supplications to intercede for the flock under my care:
This tool has been an invaluable resource allowing me to prioritize the gospel over the tendency to use a list of generic prayer requests that often lack a sense of deep gratitude for my church. As I see it, there is a timely application today for our prayer lives stemming from Paul’s familiar exhortation to the Philippian believers: “let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).
Inspired by Leeman’s list, here are 18 things you can pray for this Sunday as you consider your place in the body of Christ. I’ve prepared this list primarily to serve my own church family; I’m convinced that the responsibility to teach my flock how to pray falls on my shoulders if I am to shepherd faithfully. In a more specific way, I also want to model a habit of prayer that takes into account the Lord’s Day gathering - the ‘main event’ every week in the life of the church. Some of these requests are gleaned from books I've read on ecclesiology (corporate worship, in particular) or from different conversations I've had with Christians over the last while. They happen to be the ones I could recall while putting pen to paper. You are encouraged to borrow as many or as little of the items below and use them in your own prayer life this week as you prepare for Sunday. Who knows? What will our sovereign God be pleased to accomplish in our churches for his glory’s sake if we looked forward to the Lord’s Day with prayerful anticipation.
That our gathering would set the tone for our collective pursuit of holiness from Monday to Saturday.
That newcomers would be welcomed as an extension of the loving welcome Jesus has demonstrated for his bride.
That Jesus - in the fullness of his excellencies - would be the main attraction that captivates the church's entire worship.
That every element in the order of worship would foster a greater unity in the church around the glorious gospel of God’s redeeming grace.
That the Spirit of God would use the word of God to expose our sins and lead us to confess them before the Lord with honesty and godly sorrow.
That our pastor(s) would not use the pulpit to impress with eloquence or performance but would instead strive to faithfully expound the Scriptures and apply it in our lives.
That fellowship would be held high by every believer and not simply treated as an elective activity to opt out.
That unbelievers who join us would encounter the love, mercy and patience of Christ and flee to him in saving faith.
That members would use their spiritual gifts to serve others in the church - doing so with genuine love.
That we would refrain from “playing favorites” among fellow believers.
That our gathering would serve as an all-essential pathway to discipleship where members make it their responsibility to speak the truth to one another.
That the distinction between the church and the world would not be blurred but be unmistakably discerned by every worshiper.
That our entire worship will serve to guard the gospel from errors, distortions, pretense and extraneous sentiments.
That members would humbly submit to discipline - confident that all Scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
That members won’t just “show up” for corporate worship but will gladly participate, side by side, in magnifying our triune God.
That we would be well rested to worship on the Lord’s Day.
That every eye would be firmly set on things above from where Jesus reigns with all power and authority.
That God would do immeasurably more than we could ask or think through our ordinary gathering.