Praying Over the Church on Sundays
Recently our staff under the leadership of Dr. Merritt began a new practice at our church which has really changed our hearts and attitudes when it comes to prayer. We began meeting at 8:00 a.m. on Sundays to pray over our church. First our senior staff gathers at our lobby Welcome Desk to pray together, and then we break up individually to pray.
Now when I say “pray over” our church, what I mean is that each staff member goes individually to each room in the building—preschool classrooms, children’s worship spaces, our youth area and our adult classrooms—and prays for the participants and leaders in each room. Additionally we walk the Worship Center, praying over each and every individual seat in our auditorium. We walk back and forth through the rows as the band and praise team rehearses, touching each seat as we pray for its coming occupant. All of this happens before our first hour of worship and Bible study begins at 9:30 a.m.
Before this practice began we all prayed about Sunday. We prayed for our pastor and our people. We prayed that God would move through our church and our ministries. We prayed for needs and hurts in our congregation. We prayed for one another and we prayed for ourselves. It’s not that we didn’t pray. But somehow the physical aspect added to prayer adds a new dimension of meaning to this time.
God has given each of our churches not only a physical location, but at the location a facility that we use each week. I’m convinced, as one of our pastors has communicated to our team, that we will be held accountable by God for how we steward the church facility that has been entrusted to us. The place is not the main thing. People are the church and people matter. But the place is important to carrying out our ministries and in that regard we should be thankful for what we have and ask God to use it—from the chairs to the microphones to the sippy cups—for His glory.
It’s an interesting time of prayer walking the rows of our Worship Center. As I pray, I think about who may be sitting in each seat. Many of them I know. Many of them I will not know. Certainly some are without Christ. Others are coming in a moment of crisis and transition. Some are searching for healing, others for answers, while others are skeptics who will sit with their arms folded the whole time. I ask the Holy Spirit to work on the heart of each person in each seat. I ask God to open the person in this seat and that seat to the Gospel. I ask Him to allow the person in this seat and that seat to experience worship and to hear God’s Word for the day.
When we finish we go on with our Sunday morning planning and preparation. The folks arrive in the parking lot, the coffee begins flowing and people begin to come in, drop off kids and sit down. They’re not aware that someone touched the seat they just plopped down in and prayed for them. But I believe God is richly blessing this time of prayer as He moves through our congregation.
I would encourage you, pastor and staff, to take time to pray over your church each week. Walking through empty halls and empty rooms, asking God to use this wonderful place called the church (building) to reach and minister to people, and to facilitate worship and Bible study, is a great Sunday activity. It’ll bring a sense of expectation and peace to your heart and mind. It’ll bring your staff closer together. And it will remind you how special a place is the thing we call our church.
Author: Eugene Mason, Communications Director for Cross Pointe Church under the leadership of Dr. James Merritt.