Why it's good to pray for the church, not just your church
Have you ever watched a team self-destruct? It’s painful to witness. When teammates stop working together and start working against each other, they lose sight of who they are supposed to be fighting against.
Too often, as churches, we do the same thing. The church around the world is as diverse and different as the members of any sports team. But like a team, our fight is not with each other.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).
Sometimes, we look at how different we are and assume we have little in common. We don't realize that our local church is connected to what God is doing globally through the Church.
We all have the same mission, the same call: to make disciples of all nations, teaching others everything Jesus taught (Matthew 28:16-20).
And one of the best ways to remember we’re all on the same team is to pray for one another.
Three Reasons We Pray for Other Churches
1. We are all on the same team and under the same authority: Jesus.
When one church grows, it’s a win for the whole Church. And when one church struggles, it should break the heart of every church. "He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church" (Colossians 1:17-18).
2. To people outside the church, there’s no distinction between NewSpring and any other church.
We all represent Jesus, so we should pray for one another to stay strong and present Jesus’ message well. "Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you" (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
3. It pleases God.
The Bible specifically instructs us to pray for all people and for leaders in high positions, because it pleases God. "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone" (1 Timothy 2:1).
Jesus didn't say His followers are identified by going to church every week or never drinking, smoking, or swearing. He said others will know people are Christians when they see those people loving other Christians, yes, even Christians who attend other churches. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35).
Our unity in Jesus confirms our identity as His people.
Before Jesus was crucified, the unity of the Church was on His mind. "My prayer is not for them [the original disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:20-21).
Local churches that pray for and love other churches participate in answering Jesus' prayer and that unity confirms our identity as followers of Jesus.