Prayer: The Glue and Resilience in Church Community

Prayer: The Glue and Resilience in Church Community Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash. Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash.
The story of the early church in Acts shows us that an effective church is one where individuals are devoted "to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" - and they are devoted to these things together in community (Acts 2:42). In I Am A Church Member by Thom S. Rainer, Rainer suggests that belonging to a local church involves "praying together as a family for the church where God has placed us" (Rainer 2013, 60). He suggests the local church also needs individuals who "seek to pray together for the church" (Rainer 2013, 63). Similarly, in his book Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Rainer's experience and research show that when a church was no longer praying and hoping together, "the church started dying" (Rainer 2014, 68). For this reason, Thom S. Rainer suggests committing to praying for our churches, asking God to keep us "passionate and believing prayer as the lifeblood of the church" (Rainer 2014, 68). Prayer is an essential glue for the local church community.

I am excited about what God is doing in our local church community, River Corner Church. When Katie and I first started leading within this context, River Corner Church was in a season of relaunch and reimagination. They have since entered into a story of resurrection and new life. I believe that their deep passion for church community, the teaching of the scriptures, the breaking of bread, and prayer are why God's favor and grace have allowed this community to resiliently remain and even incrementally grow. I truly believe prayer is one of the most important values and glue to a church community. When our family first started in 2022, I offered seven prompts to use when praying for our growing church community. There were seven prayer prompts crafted to correspond with the days of the week. I believe these suggested prayers cover every major priority of our journey as a growing church. Now, over two years later, I still keep these with my Bible and pray them regularly for our simple community of Jesus' followers.

Prayer has to be the glue and lifeblood of a community of Jesus' followers. I do not know the source, but Martin Luther is credited with once saying, "Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church." I like that image of prayer. Whatever type of church community you belong to - from megachurch to house church - prayer must be an essential practice for the effectiveness of your community. Perhaps the framework we use at River Corner Church, our seven prayer prompts, will be helpful to you and your church community;

We pray to know God better and for our church community to deepen its connection with God individually and during our moments of communal worship.

We pray to understand the scriptures more and for our church community to experience renewal as we faithfully live and love like Jesus.

We pray for increased love for each other and for our church community to strengthen its commitment to journeying through life together.

We pray to be more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and for our church community to bring healing and peace to the places we each live, work, and play.

We pray for responsible stewardship of our mission and for our church community to wisely steward, invest, and leverage what God has entrusted us with.

We pray for increased joy and guidance in our church community and for our church leaders to be healthy, encouraged, and strengthened.

We pray for spiritual influence in our region, for our church community to connect with neighbors, and that God brings new life and people to our church.

As someone who has been an avid fan of reading about various church revivals, I have constantly found that a commitment to prayer has been one of the most essential and vital threads in each chapter of revival. For our church community, from the season of relaunch to the current signs of hopeful resurrection and growth, I believe prayer has been our constant companion, and perhaps our source of strength. Looking forward I believe it is also what will be our pathway to a deeper connection with God and one another. As Thom S. Rainer wisely notes, prayer is indeed the lifeblood of the church, it is a strong wall and fortress, and it nurtures its vitality and resilience. Prayer is the glue that keeps us on the vine, and it is the unyielding foundation upon which our community is formed. Be encouraged to continue to uphold prayer for our church community and yours. Prayer helps us to journey forward with hope and anticipation, knowing that through prayer, we align our hearts with God's purposes for our church and our world.

Seven Prayer Prompts Side by Jeff McLain for River Corner Church

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