Jesus taught his disciples to pray for his kingdom (Matt. 6:9-10). His kingdom is presently seen in the church. We know this because Christians were told that God “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). Christians were also told that God “calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12). John, in writing to churches (Rev. 1:4), told them that Christ “made us a kingdom” (v. 6) and that John was their “brother and partner in…the kingdom…” (v. 9). Thus, while it is true that Jesus taught his disciples in the days before the church began to pray that God’s kingdom would “come” (Matt. 6:10) because that kingdom — the church — had not yet arrived, it is also true that he taught his disciples that they should pray for the kingdom, i.e., the church, their fellow Christians, their church family. He directed the Holy Spirit to inspire Paul to inform the church at Ephesus that he did “not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Eph. 1:16). We are told to imitate him (1 Cor. 11:1).
Christians, do we love our church family enough to pray for them regularly?
There is no human man on earth whom I admire more than my father, Mike Mitchell. He preached the gospel for over 40 years, and even now in his retirement and in the later years of his life he still works for the Lord as best he can by teaching others around the world about the gospel through World Bible School. I love and admire him for his compassion, his love for souls, his quiet humility and strength, his knowledge of the Bible, and hundreds of other reasons. I will never even approach the level of ministry and service that he gave to the Lord.
One reason I respect him so much is because when he was involved in full-time ministry, there were many, many times in which he would arrive at the church building very early in the morning, sometimes hours before a Sunday morning worship service would begin, sometimes very early in the morning on a weekday. Once he arrived, he would go into the auditorium and sit in the same pew, in the same spot, that an individual member of the church or a family who attends sits…and he would pray for them. He would sit where they sit, and he would petition God on their behalf. If they were struggling spiritually with sin or doubt, he would pray for them. If they were undergoing a physical or emotional hardship, he would pray for them. If there was in fact nothing bad going on in their life, he would still pray for them.
One does not do things like that with regularity as he did without having a deep love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. He did, and still does. One of my goals in life and as a minister is to follow his example. I have a long way to go, but I’m working on it.
Christians, do we love our church family enough to pray for them?