by Zach Simons
It’s not often that you’ll hear prayers for life’s routine events. Not many pray to experience the sunrise tomorrow, for instance. Nor do many pray for the freedom to continue living where they do, and enjoying the things they enjoy. These things we take for granted. Not much attention or intercession is devoted to them in the midst of all the other needs and joys of life. When we are free to engage in something routinely, it quickly drops from view as we focus on more pressing and uncertain matters.
One of the greatest freedoms we enjoy each week is the freedom to gather and worship our Creator on Sunday mornings. The church has come together in corporate worship on Sunday mornings since the time of the apostles and we find strong exhortations in Scripture to continue doing so, always encouraging new generations to take the torch from us and preach the gospel to those around them. Historically, God has done some amazing things in the worship gatherings of his people. He draws the lost and wounded to himself. He enlightens our minds and hearts through the preaching of the gospel. He encourages and strengthens individuals through bringing them together as one with the body of Christ. He meets us uniquely in the practice of the sacraments. No matter how routine they are, church wide worship gatherings are central to our Christian life and, therefore, should be prayed for regularly. Here are 5 simple ways to pray for our Sunday mornings:
- Pray for single-minded focus. We live in an age of perpetual distraction. You know it has gotten bad when YouTube has commercials. I’m now distracted from my distractions. Worship gatherings can suffer from our compulsive need to be entertained immediately. Our attention spans are short and our hearts are restless. Jesus offers rest for our restless hearts and peace for our distracted minds, if we are not too distracted to see Him.
- Pray for unity. Division in the church is a particularly painful killer. The body of Christ has suffered many wounds over divisive words or motivations. The church is a people unified by the life-raising power of the gospel, but you will find differences in almost every other area. Pray that the power of divisiveness that the enemy uses in these areas will not prove greater than the power that unifies us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. When this is fleshed out on Sunday mornings, we tell the world and one another of the healing power of God.
- Pray for humility. Any time a stage is involved, the temptation of pride is close at hand. Whether prideful about your role in the service, your position in the church, your perceived ability to judge the accuracy of the sermon, or your “I’ve risen above all that” sense of superiority, humility is something we all desperately need. Especially when we gather at the foot of the cross and worship the one who humbled himself completely to rescue us. Humility leads to true worship and loving brotherhood.
- Pray for newcomers. Each week there are people who enter the room scared, confused, hurt, or skeptical. They may know about God, but they don’t know him. They need to hear the gospel. They need to know that Jesus died for them. They need to know why he died for them, and they need to feel loved and welcomed into the family. Pray that God uses you, as the church, to bring these things into the light.
- Pray for your pastors. Sunday mornings are often the culmination of many hours of work, preparation, and prayer for one purpose: the glory of God through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the subsequent worship of his people. However, Sunday mornings are also sometimes the greatest battlegrounds for a pastor’s heart. The enemy knows what takes place when we gather to worship and (as in war) he often does the most damage by attacking the leader. Pray for wisdom, courage, strength and a reliance on God to carry out God’s call on your pastor’s life.
Routine should not lull us into a spiritual slumber when it comes to our worship gatherings. If anything, routine should powerfully shape our habits and worldviews. It’s time worth interceding for each week. We love you church; and know that you are not taken for granted. You are prayed for regularly, and our time of worship on Sunday mornings is greatly anticipated each week. See you this Sunday!