How Might We Pray for Our Church Plant? A TWO-FOLD APPROACH
Members of church plants long to see God work in powerful ways. We desire God to draw many to saving faith. We desire our church to be a place where new and mature Christians grow. We desire God to bring revival and spiritual awakening to our community. We desire to see the congregation be built up with elders, deacons, and leaders. We desire to see other gospel-centered churches planted and church planters sent out. These are all good desires, and we should, in faith, pray and work toward them.
At the same time, we must remember that God may withhold some or many of these blessings. In His wonderful, wise, and kind providence, God may allow us to be part of a church plants that go through very difficult hardships and see very little “visible” results, even if we are faithfully preaching the gospel. We may have a very hard ministry with very little that outsiders will be impressed with. Our God is sovereign and He will bring glory to His name through all kinds of different churches and ministries. He will bring glory to His name through church plants that grow quickly and see many people come to faith and He will bring glory to His Name those that are small but are filled with faithful saints who set their hopes on God. Jesus is building His church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matt 16:18).
So, how should we pray for a church plant we are part of? Should we be bold in asking for the seeming impossible? Yes. Should we rejoice and trust in God even when He withholds our requests? Yes. Let this then be our approach as we pray for our church plant. First, let us pray in faith for what is earthly impossible. Second let us pray that God would glorified no matter what happens. Both of these prayers find their center in this: God, be glorified in this local congregation.
GOD, BE GLORIFIED IN THE SALVATION OF THE LOST
God, may you be glorified in the salvation of the lost. Let us see spiritually lost souls found in Christ, spiritually dead made spiritually alive, spiritually estranged souls reconciled to the God who loves and made them and sent His Son to redeem them. Let us see you, O God, glorify your marvelous grace, a grace that saves us not because of anything we do (Eph 2:8-9) and makes us a new creation (Eph 2:10). You’ve done this work in us who are Christians, let us see you do it again here in our community!
Let us see many people become Christians and follow Christ whole-heartedly as disciples who make disciples. Let our children come to trust and follow you. Let our friends come to faith in Christ. Let our co-workers and neighbors profess faith. Let us see revival and spiritual awakening break out and spread across our city and land. Let us see many people embrace the truth that Jesus is supremely glorious and wonderful. O God, please bring glory to your Name in this way.
GOD, BE GLORIFIED IN OUR PERSEVERANCE AND JOYFUL OBEDIENCE AND FAITH
God, may you be glorified in us even if we never see another person come to faith in Christ. Even if we never see another person join our congregation, and even if the financial pressures mount, may we say, ‘You are worth it! You deserve my sacrificial obedience and trust and love.’ Even as the trials and hardship pile upon us and we can’t understand why we are going through what we have to go through, and even if ministry feels painfully slow, may our faith endure and we persevere as we follow you. May we still be active in our discipleship and intentional in our evangelism and fervent and faithful in our prayer. May we be a congregation that is shaped by the gospel and sees the power of God at work in our lives and our love for each other. May God be the treasure of our hearts, not visible ministry success or numbers of people or finances. May we value holiness, love for you, faithfulness and obedience above numbers of people or giving.
God, be glorified in our endurance and perseverance! Keep us from bitterness and jealousy. Keep us from self-righteously judging churches bigger or smaller or different from us. Persevere us O Lord by your power, as you already have. Let us set our eyes on you. Fill us with fresh joy that carries us forward by your Spirit.
I’m certainly praying this for us in our church plant, Cross of Christ Fellowship.