I know there’s a reason for a church to list and share all of its personal prayer needs (and I strongly affirm that approach), but I also think we’re missing an opportunity by not more strategically using a prayer list. Below is my proposed list for a “revamped” prayer list. I realize my items might necessitate another prayer list altogether, but I think it’s worth the effort:
- One staff member and family each week. That way, the church prays recurrently for each staff member throughout the year.
- A church calendar/prayer guide each week. Let the calendar of this week’s events also serve as a guide for praying for what’s happening at the church in the next seven days.
- One church family each week. Even in the smallest churches, we need reminders to pray for each other. Introduce the family via a photo and brief description, and pray for all your families annually – not only those who are having difficulties.
- A missionary or unreached people group each week. Help your church be outwardly focused by reminding them of needs of the world.
- A different college or seminary student each week throughout the school year. Connect with them, and learn of their needs. Your students might be pleasantly surprised that you’re remembering them.
- A local community leader each week. That leader might be a government official, a first responder, or a teacher. This approach will force you to get outside your church to meet people and secure their permission to be included on the prayer list.
- A sister congregation each week. It never hurts us to pray for another church, and it would do us good to get to know other congregations.
- New members as they join. Introduce them via word and pictures. Cover them in prayer as they start the journey with your church.
- Any of the above. You might choose to start with only a couple of these items, but I encourage you to balance an inward and an outward focus in your choices.
You can create this kind of prayer list as a hard copy, an electronic copy, or both. Use pictures. Tell stories. Help create community. Again, it will take some work, but you can begin to turn your church’s heart toward others by strategically using this kind of prayer list.