Why is prayer for church growth important? We have been involved in several church plants on different continents. They tend to be some of the most impressive incubators for personal growth in Christ.
There is something about having such a tight-knit community working towards a common vision. There is yet to be the church politics that often come as the numbers add up. This is the time where the firm foundation on which the church will stand is still being built.
At the core of the Christian faith is the great commission. Each one of us is called to play their part in this. To empty the street of hell and fill the golden streets of heaven. The unfortunate part is that we often find that this can become somewhat of a competition between denominations. It is an insult to the great commission when our vision shifts from filling heaven to filling our church pews.
The reason behind this is fairly obvious in most cases. Running a church costs money. There are mega-churches that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on lighting alone. The more people they can get in the pews the more money the church will receive in the form of tithes and offering.
There is a fine line trodden there in pursuit of a noble cause. One can easily cross that line and never realise that they are on the wrong side, because in their hearts the aim is still right.
That is why we are called to guard our hearts.
Proverbs 4:23 New King James Version (NKJV)
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
We are called to remain both watchful and prayerful. Our hearts can be deceived.
Matthew 26:41 King James Version (KJV)
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
What does church growth look like?
A key part of any testimony is the expectation. If there is no set expectation, what do we have to testify about when God has delivered. It is important that you as an individual and your ministry at large would define what church growth looks like.
In fact, write it down and place it where all can see. As a reminder to you to stay the course, and as a guide for those that will join along the way and those that will come after you.
We will get you started with some of our own goals:
- Church growth is the development of a core leadership team that is hungry for the Lord, keen to grow and to disciple others.
- Church growth is seeing the ministry improve in its functions, reaching more people and making a greater impact on those we reach.
- Church growth is bringing light to those who are without it.
- Church growth is doing all the above without losing sight of the purpose of the great commission that Christ set for us.
- Church growth is being consistently led by the Holy Spirit.
Now write your own list down. It does not have to be limited to 5 things. It can be more or less than this. Once these things are defined your prayers are more targeted. You have a barometer through which you can measure your progress.
No matter what we build as a church. It is often hinged on the leaders that we have. The world at present has one of the great leadership crises that we have seen in our lifetime. Our prayer is that this would not be the case for the church of God.
God forbid that his church would lack leaders. We are praying the Lord will begin to awaken sleeping giants, leaders who do not know that they are leaders. Leaders who are not functioning in the full capacity that the Lord placed in them.
The labours are few
Matthew 9:35-38 New King James Version (NKJV)
37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Consider the last part of the first verse. While there is a harvest to be had, the laborers are few. If you know anything about harvesting, you will know that there is a period in which harvest can be completed before the crops start to fall prey to the elements and pests.
By the same token, if we as the church are not playing our role as harvesters, there is plenty of harvest that is ending up falling prey to the skims of the enemy. What does the same verse tell us to do in response to this lack of laborers? It says “PRAY”. And that is exactly what we are going to do.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for preparing the harvest for us. Our prayer is that you would raise laborers among us. Make me a laborer for your kingdom, oh Lord! Give us the wisdom to be soul winners. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
The main difference that we will see between our church leaders today and the leadership that Jesus showed is the servant-hearted nature that is absent today. We may wash feet on occasion, but Jesus washed feet consistently.
It may not have been through the act of washing feet, but symbolically, he washed feet daily. He put others before himself. He led from the front.
Matthew 23:11-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
We lay our wisdom, our gifts, and goals before you. Teach us to lead as you did. Give us the heart to serve like no other. We pray for true humility in our hearts. Search our hearts, oh Lord, for the arrogance that masks itself as leadership. For positions that mask ignorance. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
Yearning for your spirit
Psalm 51:10-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Church growth is tied to growth in the spirit. It is about moving from one dimension to another. Not just as individuals within the congregation, but together as a ministry.
This happens in such a way that it is contagious. No person should be left behind in times of great growth. We know that on the day of Pentecost, all those that were gathered in one place experienced something phenomenal.
Our prayer is that we would be led by nothing but the spirit of the Lord.
We pray that your spirit would lead the church. Let it not be egos, hormones, or our own wisdom that guides us. Lord, let your presence be a testament of your glory. Take not your Holy Spirit. Lead us in all seasons. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
With fire in the bones
Jeremiah 20:9 King James Version (KJV)
9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
This is one of the anchoring verses when it comes to sharing the gospel of the living God. While there were opposition and hindrances in front of Jeremiah, he had no hesitance in sharing the word of God. Let that fire be in our bones as well.
We pray that your fire would be ignited in our churches. Reignite the flames that are dying down or the ones that have burned out. Let the fire in our bones be the state of the church! In Jesus’ name! Amen
Seed to the sower
2 Corinthians 9
10 Now [a]may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, [b]supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
Based on how we have defined the meaning of church growth to each one of us, consider what seeds need to be sown for this harvest to be achieved? The good part is that we already know that the Lord is faithful to provide seed to the sower.
We thank you for your faithfulness to give seed to the sower. Grant us the wisdom to sow the seed for the harvest that we desire. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
At the heart of church growth is the bringing in of the harvest. In his book, Put Service Back into the Church Service, Jeremy Myers contends that the bulk of people joining our churches are coming from other churches. We are in fact recycling the harvest instead of tapping in the plentiful harvest that is yet to be reached. That ought to change.
The harvest is plentiful
Matthew 9:35-38 New King James Version (NKJV)
37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful,
Dear Heavenly Father, we are eternally grateful for the gift of salvation. We thank you for the harvest that is plentiful. May our eyes always be open to seeing it and all the glory that is within. In Jesus’ name! Amen
Stay the course
Ephesians 6:13 New International Version (NIV)
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
We acknowledge that this journey is hardly ever an easy one. We thank you for your companionship. Thanks for walking each day with us. Give us the strength and indeed the boldness to stand our ground and continue to do your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Love as you do
1 Corinthians 13:7 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Forgive us for any time that we have not extended to others the same love that you extended to us. Grant us to love purely. To show the love that bears all things. To embody the love that hopes all things and endures all things. Through Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen
Exodus 33:14-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”
Give us the discipline to never do anything in our own strength. We want to build everything with you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Our churches are filled with pride. The word of God tells that pride ushers in downfall. God forbid that his church would fall because of our pride.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We pray for all church leaders today, that you would fill their hearts with humility. That they would always place you ahead of themselves. That they would always place your will ahead of their desires and ambitions. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Eyes on you
Matthew 10:29-31 New King James Version (NKJV)
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a [a]copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Thank you for watching over us eternally. We pray for guidance in all that we do. May our churches be deeply rooted in who you are. In Jesus’ name. Amen
The Great Commission
Matthew 28:19 New International Version (NIV)
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Father, We thank you for the great commission. Let it be a mantle that we carry now and forevermore. To take the good news everywhere. In Jesus’ name. Amen
May we be true disciples of Christ
John 21:15 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
If you read this scripture, you will recall that Peter was starting to feel insulted by these questions. Yet, the Lord is asking the same of us each day. If we love we too would feed his lambs.
We ask that you would guide us in reaching and feeding your lambs. Alone we stumble. At times are get caught up in our own intentions that may seem good. In Jesus’ name. Amen
May the love of money never be a theme
1 Timothy 6:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
There is rampant greed in the church today. It is common for church leaders to hoard wealth while there are multitudes struggling all over the world. That is certainly not the model that Christ set for us.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We stand against the spirit fo greed and gluttony that has taken over our churches. Raise us as true stewards over every resource that you place in the hands of our church. Not to seek luxuries of the world, but a heavenly harvest. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Thank you for taking this time to pray for church growth. We believe that is people like you that will make a difference. Send us prayer requests and testimonies.