One of the ways I get to serve my local church, Grace Baptist, is as an elder. The elders of our church meet every Saturday morning for a couple hours to pray for the people of the church and for wisdom for the direction of the church. This morning we prayed as always and we used a method for prayer that I'd like to encourage you to use, too.
Many of you have a church directory at home or can get ahold of one. I know every person at our church has a directory or has access to a directory. The church directory is often used as a piece of church history or as a way to contact other people in your church. I want to encourage you to use it as a prayer tool.
Take your directory and pray for the people in it by name. You can pray a page at a time if you want. You can pray for the A's and then the B', etc if you want. Or you can pray for one family or person a day if you want, the options are plentiful. Just take out the directory, perhaps blow off the dust if necessary, and begin to pray.
You might be thinking that you can't possibly know the prayer needs of everyone in the church and you're probably right in thinking that. You don't always have to know specifics. When you know specific prayer needs, lift them up; when you don't know specific prayer needs, pray for that person to have more of one of the fruits of the Spirit, pray that they have strength to stay faithful to God today, or ask the Holy Spirit to pray for what He knows and you don't. There's not an excuse to skip a name.
How much good could God do in your local church if you were faithful to pray for the people of your church by name? How much more would you grow to love the people of your church if you spent time praying for them individually? What more powerful thing could you do for the people of your church than to ask the God of the universe to act on their behalf?
Praying for the people of the local church is not just for pastors, elders and deacons. Praying for one another is a work of and for the church.
So, take out your directory and devise a plan to pray for the people of your church. Whether you pray one page a day or one name a day you will do a Kingdom work if you practice this discipline. I love knowing that somebody's praying for me. In fact, at our wedding my dad sang the song "Somebody's Praying for Me" as a thank you to all those who do pray and as a plea for others to pray for us. We need the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Grab your church directory and pray for your local church today.