Ten Things to Pray for 2021
2020 was a year filled with talk about maintaining or regaining physical health. COVID-19 dominated headlines, and even consumed the conversations of Christians around the country.
As we prepare ourselves to head into the new year, we must realize that our spiritual health is more important than our physical health. There needs to be a Spirit-filled evaluation of our lives as individual Christians and as church congregations. God wants us all to change and grow. Stagnant Christianity is substandard Christianity. It is n
ot what honors God. Changes for the new year are not contingent upon whether or not COVID goes away, or the vaccines work. Change in our lives and in our churches must take place because it pleases God.
Below are ten spiritual prayers to pray for yourself and for your church family as we head into a new year. On this final day of the year, commit yourself to pray these things, and others like them, throughout this coming year.
Prayer #1 - Pray for our love for God and others to grow. (Mark 12:28-31)
These are the two greatest commandments in all the Bible. Everything hangs on these two ideas. Our love for God will fuel our love for one another; our love for one another will reflect our love for God. Love must be biblically informed and biblically shaped by the teaching of the Word of God. We must grow in properly loving God and others.
Prayer #2 - Pray for a spirit of unity as a church family. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
We must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. COVID tore apart churches this year with bickering, arguing, division, and departures. This ought not be. When love for God and others grows, unity amongst believers will be more evident.
Prayer #3 - Pray for personal humility in our hearts. (1 Peter 5:5-7)
We must be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. A humble spirit does not think more of himself than he ought to think, but rather esteems others better than himself. There is perhaps no greater character trait of Christ for Christians to emulate than his humility.
Prayer #4 - Pray for a greater witness in our community. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
God has providentially placed your church where it is, in a particular area. We ought not waste the opportunities God puts before us to shine our light brightly for the glory of God in the place he has put us.
Prayer #5 - Pray for more intentional discipleship relationships. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
Discipleship is key to healthy churches that can survive difficulties and grow exponentially. Life touching life relationships are important. Passing on the truths of Christianity from person to person is how each of us is called upon to perpetuate the Christian faith. Parents must disciple their children. Adults must disciple adults. Teens should disciple other teens. These relationships must be intentional and ongoing for the church to grow more healthy.
Prayer #6 - Pray for a greater desire to evangelize the lost. (Matthew 28:18-20)
There is no escaping the responsibility of the Great Commission. The mission of the church is to make disciples of all nations. The greatest evangelism program in your church is the body of believers within it. Every believer is to be involved in developing relationships with lost people for the purpose of reaching them for Christ.
Prayer #7 - Pray for a stronger commitment to the Word of God. (Psalm 119:9-16)
We must hide God's Word in our heart. We must meditate on it more and more. The Scriptures must govern our thoughts, our beliefs, and our behaviors. More important than being committed to any earthly cause is our commitment to having our conscience bound to the Word of God, and following what God's Word teaches.
Prayer #8 - Pray for stronger marriages and family relationships. (Ephesians 5:18-6:4)
Satan is having a hay-day with the families of our churches. Marriages are falling apart; parent/child relationships are decaying; children are succumbing to the influence of the world. Christians must be more controlled by the Spirit of God than they are controlled by technology, entertainment, or ungodly influences. Our churches will only be as strong as our family units; and our family units will only be as strong as the marriage relationships within them. We must pray for God to strengthen our homes.
Prayer #9 - Pray for real, personal spiritual growth and change. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The Holy Spirit seeks to take the Word of God and conform us more into the image of Christ every day. This does not happen when we merely give a spare moment to read our one minute Bible devotionals. We must spend more time saturating our minds and hearts with the Word of God, meditating on it, and allowing the Spirit to renovate our thinking and our living to be more honoring to God. There is no spiritual growth apart from our being in the Word, and the Word indwelling us.
Prayer #10 - Pray for three people to be saved, baptized, and added to the church. (Acts 2:41)
There is no magic reason for the number three. Pray for more than three if you want. The point is that God still saves people, and Christ is still building his church. Pray for at least three people to be converted, baptized, and added to the church, as is the Scriptural pattern. Pray that you could be a part of that process, and disciple a new convert. Pray for new relationships with unsaved people. Pray expectantly for God to answer this prayer.
Pray for other things, too, but make them biblically informed prayers. God desires more growth in our lives and in our churches than we may even realize. Let's pray and see God do great things in us, to us, and through us in 2021.
Happy New Year!