Five Reasons to Pray for Neighboring Churches

There is often an unfortunate sense of competition between churches in the same city, town, or community.  How much better if instead of a spirit of jealousy there was a spirit of prayer for one another?

Each week during our Wednesday prayer time, we pray for several of our sister churches, rotating through a list of neighboring congregations and their pastors.

Why should we do this?  Is it simply being nice?  Or, do we have Biblical basis for doing so?

Here are five reasons we pray for other gospel-proclaiming churches.

Because of the Gospel

We rejoice and will rejoice that Christ is preached. {Phil. 1:18}

We will pray that the Gospel is shared faithfully and fruitfully through the churches of our community. Paul was talking about those who proclaimed the Gospel through improper motives.  Our sister churches deserve the assumption that their motives are good.  How much more should we rejoice that they are faithful in their message, and pray for it to prosper?

Because of the Body

What is good for one part of the body is good for all.    {1 Corinthians 12:26}

We will pray for God’s richest blessing on the churches in our community because what’s good for one is good for all.  This is not just true for one local congregation, but the Church as a whole.  When one prospers, all prosper.

Because of our Mission

Whoever is not against us is on our side.   {Mark 9:40}

God’s purpose for each church is only a part of His overall plan of redemption.  The task given to the church as a whole is carried out by individual congregations.  His purposes for neighboring churches do not conflict with ours, they are complementary and often cooperative.  We will pray that they will fulfill the purpose God has given each body of believers.

Because of the Harvest

We plant, they water, and God makes it grow.   {1 Corinthians 3:6}

Why is it easier to pray for churches in other areas, but not for those in our own?  This passage reminds us that we are not only laboring together in the same harvest, sometimes we serve in the same field in the harvest.  We will pray that many souls are reached through the ministry of our neighboring churches.  Remember, it’s a large harvest.  If every Gospel-faithful church in our community was filled to capacity, there would still be many yet un-reached.

Because of our Purpose

Their spiritual benefit is for “the glory and praise of God.”  {Philippians 1:9-11}

Ultimately, this is the purpose for every congregation of believers.  When a church is faithful in the worship and work to which God has called them, He is glorified, and we desire God’s glory in every local gathering of believers.  We will pray that God be glorified in the spiritual health of our neighboring churches. 

The Christian family is no place for the pettiness of jealousy or competition.  It is contrary to the message we share and the God we serve.  As you pray for God’s work in your own church, don’t neglect praying for the same blessings in others.