from GoodBook blog:
I don't wish to make you squirm. I certainly don't want to make you feel guilty. But let me ask you a question: When was the last time you prayed for your congregation? I don't mean praying for specific individuals or events within the congregation but prayed for the congregation as a whole? If you're anything like me, it's the sort of thing that can easily fall off our prayer-lists ... or not even make it on to them in the first place. But our congregation is our family. It's full of the people who the Father has deliberately chosen - the people who God is using to make us more like Jesus. We are called to learn together, share together, encourage together and grow together. And they, without doubt, need prayer! So, why not take a moment now to pray for your congregation as a whole? You might like to use the wonderful words of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians as a basis:
1. Thank God for your brothers and sisters - for their faith, their love, their work and their perseverance.
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thess 1:2-3)
2. Thank God that he is at work and will remain at work in your brothers and sisters - through his word.And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.. (1 Thess 2:13)
3. Ask God to help your brothers and sisters to keep growing - in their faith, wisdom, their love for one another, their love for unbelievers and their holiness.How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1Thess 3:9-13)
4. Ask God to help your brothers and sisters to keep their eyes on the peace brought by the cross and the hope of Jesus' return and to live faithfully in the light of both those things.May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thess 5:23-24)
5. Ask God to help your congregation remember that Jesus' grace is all they need - today and every day.The grace of our Lord Jesus Church be with you (1 Thess 5:28)