Every now and again I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this because there are few examples of pastoral prayers online and I thought these may serve to inspire themes, passages, or ideas as other pastors and elders prepare to lead their churches in prayer. Here is one I prayed before our church not too long ago.
Father, in your Word you’ve got a lot to say about unity—a lot to say about the way we, as your people, relate to one another. You say, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” You say, “Above all, put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” You say, “Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” These and so many more. We acknowledge that unity is very important to you and very difficult for us. What you value so highly, we tend to forsake or destroy.
Lord, we acknowledge that in the deepest and most significant sense we are united. As your people we’ve all been adopted together into your family, so we are brothers and sisters. As believers we’ve been indwelled by the Holy Spirit, so we are one body. As Christians we profess a common creed, so we are one church. As members of this local church we sit around a common table and celebrate communion together, so we are one congregation. These are all signs and reminders of our unity.
Yet we also know that too often we ourselves interrupt this unity. We can’t help but admit that our natural propensity is to divide. We are petty people who are easily offended. We are sinful people who are quick to offend others. We are self-righteous people who are quick to think ill or even speak ill of others. We have a terrible habit of taking lesser matters—matters of conscience and preference—and making them into great matters that divide us from one another. We elevate small things into big things and reduce big things into small things. We confess that too often we fail to act in ways that bring greater unity and instead act in ways that deepen division. And so we ask that you would forgive us for this. Forgive us for our willingness to divide. Let us receive that forgiveness and show true repentance.
And Father, as we approach the date that we’ll be sending a number of our people to help strengthen a weakened church, we ask for that great gift of unity. Oh, this time can be such a joy if we stay strong together; this time could be such a sorrow if we do not. We ask that each of us would be eager to believe the best about others; we ask that each of us would be eager to serve others; we ask that each of us would be quick to listen and slow to speak; we ask that each of us would have a deep awareness of the objectively true unity that already binds us together; and let us be so carefully not to let any subjective disunity drive us apart. We ask that you would extend this special mercy, this special grace to us at this special time. Let us believe and live out what we know to be true—that in you we are one.
Father, we want to pray for other churches in the city, so we thank you for Grace Chapel and pastor Habib and pray that your hand of blessing would continue to be upon that man and that church. We pray that we would continue to hear good reports about what you are accomplishing among our brothers and sisters there. We pray that they would remain united in the calling to which you’ve called them—to be an outpost of your kingdom in that part of the city.
And our gracious God, we want to pray for Scotland, and especially for Mez McConnell, for Niddrie Community Church, and for 20schemes. We pray for Mez, that you would grant him health and that he would continue to lead his church well as its pastor. We pray for their church plants, that they would continue to grow and thrive even in such a difficult mission field. We pray for the Weekender 20schemes is hosting, that this would prove to be a helpful event that would better equip your people in Scotland. We thank you for the good work you are doing in Scotland through people and churches and ministries like these, and ask that you would continue to gather your people to yourself in Scotland. We pray that like a couple of centuries ago, a great revival of gospel preaching would sweep that nation as you call many people to yourself.
And now as we turn to the Word, we ask that you would help us to be attentive. Help us to listen as you speak and let us be changed by your Word. Amen.