Today is the National Day of Prayer. As I sat down to compile the the CLC’s prayer guide, the song, “Build Your Kingdom Here,” by the Rend Collective started playing on my streaming service. In it, the band sings, “build Your kingdom here, let the darkness fear, show Your mighty hand, heal our streets and land, set your church on fire...change the atmosphere, build your kingdom here.” Talk about providence! I couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song as the soundtrack of this prayer guide.
The National Day of Prayer is a way for Christians across denominations, churches, cities, and states to join hands and pray for our people and our places. We offer these prayers as a guide for those interested in participating in the National Day of Prayer to pray for yourself, your community, your churches, and your leaders.
Pray for Yourself
Rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Joel 2:13 (NRSV)
Lord, today we pray for hearts that burn with a passion for You and Your will. May we focus more on the inner condition of our hearts than on empty acts of outward devotion. May we recommit ourselves to actually being the church than simply playing church. We repent of our sins and ask that you restore a right spirit within us. It is only by devoting ourselves first to worship and walking humbly with you, Lord, that we may love and serve our families, our neighbors, our churches and our communities.
Pray for Your Neighbors
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, there is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6 (NRSV)
Lord, today we pray for families -- for the ones we are born into and the ones we create. We pray for strong and healthy marriages between husbands and wives. We pray for wisdom for parents trying to raise up godly children. We pray for orphans to find forever families and for children to be raised in loving and grace-filled homes. We pray for discernment and compassion for single adults as they serve their communities, pursue their callings, and find their communities. We pray for women struggling with hurt, sadness, and confusion as they walk through infertility; we pray that You would be a source of comfort and protection. We pray for the widows and widowers who may suffer through loneliness or depression -- that today someone would reach out to them and demonstrate the love of Christ in a tangible way. We pray for healing for the elderly who may suffer physical ailments, and we pray for intentional relationships for those who may feel left behind or ignored. We pray that in all our relationships we would seek to serve rather than to be served, that we may bear one another’s burdens and love each other as Christ loves His church.
Pray for Your Church
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete; be of the same mind having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition on conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4 (NRSV)
Lord, today we pray for unity among our brothers and sisters with whom we share pews during worship. We pray for wisdom for our pastors as they give leadership to our churches. We pray for renewed minds, spirits, and bodies in those in ministry who may feel discouraged, ill-equipped, and overwhelmed. We pray for revival, for more baptisms, and for more disciple-making to occur within the walls of the church. We pray for the preaching of sound doctrine and for ears to hear and follow truth. We pray for stretched church budgets, for the creativity to do more with less and maybe, in some cases, to simply do less while focused on the things of kingdom importance. We pray we would love and care for one another as You have loved and cared for us.
Pray for Your Community
Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 (NRSV)
Lord, today we pray for families that cannot make ends meet and are worried about feeding themselves and their children. We pray they be connected with resources in their community, and we pray churches will be led to give to their local food banks and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering so we can meet those needs. We pray for churches to be willing to support families (even those outside the church doors) through prayer,acts of mercy, and mutual relationships as they seek to end the cycle of poverty.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you... and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7
Lord, today we pray for churches to live out their call to be salt and light in their communities. We pray to be agents of reconciliation and transformation through positive relationships, humility, effective programs, and long-term commitment to loving our communities as Christ does. We pray for those who are lost to come to know You. We pray to be in right relationships with those in our communities, including the lonely, the least, the lost, and the stranger, even at a cost to ourselves.We pray not just for peace but for truth and justice. We pray that we are willing to commit ourselves anew to the fight against all actions that devalue human life, including racism, sexisim, classism, ageism, the oppression of widows and orphans, terrorism, violence, abuse, and neglect.
Pray for Your Government & Political Leaders
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Lord, today we pray that our desire for Your lordship in our lives guide our words and our actions during this political season. We pray that the way we as Christians engage with our neighbors would reflect the countercultural ways of the Jesus Christ. We pray against the spreading of hatred, bitterness, vitriol, and racism. We pray that our words would reflect a love and respect for all people, even when we disagree with them.
For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 1 Peter 2:13 (NRSV)
Lord, today we pray for wisdom for our leaders as they face many complex issues and competing interests. We pray they would pursue justice and that which benefits the common good. We pray for their families and their staffs. We pray You would help us to remember Micah 6:8 in Scripture as we engage in the political life of this democracy -- doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbling with You. We pray that above all else we would remember our hope is in You alone and no matter who is in power, You are ultimately in control.