Prayer for the Church

Open Your Bible

1 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Psalm 119:1, 2 Timothy 1:1-12, Hebrews 10:23-25

Recently, I had a chance to catch up over the phone with a friend I’ve known for over 15 years. We hadn’t spoken in a while, but once the conversation got flowing, we were mutually delighted to discover the ways we’d seen God’s constant work in us and our families over the years. Two hours later, I hung up the phone feeling the joy of being known and the encouragement to keep pressing on.

To me, this feels like the kind of conversation Paul is having with the church at Thessalonica. Since he had been forced to abruptly leave them, Paul, long separated from this beloved Greek church, was worried about how they were faring under persecution. But in this section of his letter, you can feel his relief to hear they aren’t just surviving, but thriving. They’ve already become well known for their steadfast commitment to the faith and their powerful love for each other.

So, what does a spiritual father say to people who are doing well? In other letters, you may see Paul correcting sin or offering education, but in this one, we mostly find delight, encouragement, and a heartfelt blessing to keep going. He celebrates the good they’ve been doing, then pushes them to take that goodness further, praying they increase and overflow with love and that God will “make [their] hearts blameless in holiness” (1Thessalonians 3:13).

“Blameless” isn’t a word we use too often these days, and if you’re prone to thinking of humans as chronically imperfect, it can sound like a tall order for anyone. In the biblical Greek language, “blameless” means a serious calling to be free of fault, to be perfect, to be so far above reproach no one can say anything bad about you. Paul knows they’ve done well, so now he is calling them to go further as they deepen their love for God and each other, to keep growing and representing Christ in their community, no matter the challenges, persecution, and turmoil they face.

So, how do you strive for perfection when the whole world seems to come against you, when life continues to wear you down? Blamelessness, it seems, doesn’t happen through individualistic striving. It calls for living in a tension between actively walking by God’s instruction (Psalm 119:1) and “relying on the power of God” (2Timothy 1:8). Fortunately, we don’t do this alone. This happens in community, too, “as we consider one another in order to provoke love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). It happens when we listen to each other’s stories for encouragement and support, and it happens when we study God’s faithfulness to the Church across generations and cultures. May that give us all a reason for hope, gratitude, and encouragement.

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51 thoughts on "Prayer for the Church"

  1. Annabelle Carey says:

    Encouragement to seek the glorious in the mundane!

  2. Hannah Gealy says:

    God, please refine me to be holy and blameless in your eyes. I often want to refuse the process of refining and skip to the end result bc I want comfort in this world. But I can’t be refined without fire and trials. So, God, please continue to refine me and help my heart to stay soft instead of becoming cynical in these trials

  3. Brandi Smith says:


  4. Sarah Pickering says:

    Hi Emily, we are here for you! This time is not just nerve-racking for your husband who is heading out without you, but for you. Being left behind is so daunting. Growing up with my dad leaving all the time for deployments was so hard. Focus on the joy of having him home and the time will fly. Peace and love, sis. God bless you and keep you

  5. Terany Garnett says:

    God I’m so happy that you created me to worship you. I am delighted to communion and give you glory for your good and awesomeness. It doesn’t feel far fetched as before to worship you everyday for the rest of my life. Maybe I won’t have to learn about you through text or experiences yet I may one day walk with u

  6. Kelsea Baumgarten says:

    Hi Emily! Just seeing this one. Late to the party. I know you’re likely in that “first two weeks of a deployment” funk right now. My husband has been in the Marine Corps for 15 years with too many to count deployments. Hang in there through this next month (it’s usually the worst!), reach out to your community, and be patient! I wish someone would have told me to not wish away all of that time. I was so anxious for him to return, that I failed to enjoy where I was, what God would have taught me, and even parts of our kiddos’ little lives. You have got this!! We will be praying.

  7. Tracia Warner says:

    What a beautiful hymn Adelynn, thank you for sharing.

  8. Beverly Watley says:

    Hope, gratitude, and encouragement

  9. Brandy Deruso says:

    I will continue to trust the goc

  10. Natasha R says:

    @Megan Taylor, thank you!

  11. Laurie Crary says:

    Rhonda J. “Hold on to Me” touched my soul. Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. Jen Brewer says:

    Praying for all of you, dear sisters. Thank you for sharing that quote from Jane Eyre, ERB! Also love that book and your thoughts.
    EMILY—Praying for you, sister. My parents were both in the military and deployed multiple times. I know the military member’s service affects the whole family. Praying for grace and strength and community support for you both in this season. ❤️❤️❤️

  13. Lauren Gannon says:

    Hi Emily, my husband deployed for the first time in our marriage last year for a year. I don’t know if you have military community nearby, but we didn’t, and that made it a bit harder. I will definitely be praying for you and your husband and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support or advice

  14. Megan Taylor says:

    Natasha, so wonderful to hear you’re with us from all the way in Hong Kong. I pray that God will keep you strong and encouraged!

  15. Natasha R says:

    Thank you SRT family, for being part of the community that supports and encourages me in my walk with the Lord. I don’t post regularly, but I read (and learn from) every comment and pray for all of you. I actually do the devotion a day late because I live in Hong Kong and the day’s devotion is released by midday my time. So I do the previous day’s devotion first thing in the morning. I actually like it that way, because I get to read al your comments. I hope you all have a great day!

  16. Denise Sibley says:

    Thank you! The old hymns are so meaningful

  17. Jennifer Anapol says:

    This is a great reminder to keep growing in our faith in God and love for each other. As Christians, we never stop growing.

  18. Mercy says:

    In 2 Timothy 1:8 , Paul mentions afflictions, and he calls his audience (believers) to be partakers of these afflictions. It shows church people will definitely experience hardships, fiery trials, conflicts, division at some point, which God allows for the refining process of his beloved, and I love the last part of it, Paul gives a hint how to survive these afflictions, “according to the power of God”, not according to our human strength, intellectuals, skills to hold up the weight of these afflictions, BUT GOD’S ( I grew to love these two wonderful words thanks to our dearly beloved Tina). “According to the power of God”, it is such a vague phrase to point to as solution, but what can I say? God keeps us on our toes, we need to step out to danger zones to see how He delivers his promises. Every day His mercies are new, every time a solution is different, therefore, my awe and gratitude toward Him and His extreme intelligence is also afresh each day to how He brings me through each fiery trials, a God full of grace. None is like Him.

    Dear ERB, I love the quote you point out from Jane Eyre. It is one of my favourite books as well, such a tender love story but yet bearing true sacrifice. Our Jesus laid down his life for the bride (the church) that He loves so much. Truly our God sees us and finds us worthy of the cost of His death. I will keep you in prayers Emily. May God give you wisdom and a strong desire in your heart to seek Him deeper and deeper each day, may He reveal himself to you through your daily circumstance. Grace is the evidence of His presence Emily. He loves you so much.

    Churchmouse, very happy to see you back. You were missed!

    Praying for other prayer requests posted in the comments. Thank you dear sisters for sharing your struggles so we together can pray with you. The burden is always lightened when shared. Thank you for sharing your burden. May God strengthen each of you through the hardships you are facing. Hold strong to the faith, for He who promised is faithful. God is able to keep us!

  19. Rhonda J. says:

    A prayer for each of you all today that are in need. I truly love this community and how it helps my own faith walk with the Lord! Lauren Daigle has a new beautiful song out “Hold on to Me” which is a great prayer song! Look it up, and believe He has you through all, the little and the big!

  20. Stepheny Cappel says:

    I love 2Timothy and can barely read this verse without singing this song!

  21. Adelynn Campbell says:

    This hymn came to my heart while reading the readings today:

    I know not why God’s wondrous grace
    To me He hath made known,
    Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
    Redeemed me for His own.
    But “I know Whom I have believed,
    And am persuaded that He is able
    To keep that which I’ve committed
    Unto Him against that day.”
    I know not how this saving faith
    To me He did impart,
    Nor how believing in His Word
    Wrought peace within my heart.
    I know not how the Spirit moves,
    Convincing men of sin,
    Revealing Jesus through the Word,
    Creating faith in Him.
    I know not what of good or ill
    May be reserved for me,
    Of weary ways or golden days,
    Before His face I see.
    I know not when my Lord may come,
    At night or noonday fair,
    Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
    Or meet Him in the air.

  22. Dorothy says:

    Since the pandemic you my SRT sisters have been my main Christian community. I’m thankful for all of you. I’m thankful for finding SRT, and that Amanda and Raechel started it. Most of all I’m thankful for a loving and caring Lord and Savior to help me through the hard times.

  23. K Swenson says:

    Praying for you now, Emily! I grew up in a military household and think we often forget the toll deployments can take on families. I pray you will be strengthened and encouraged and trust that the Lord will give you both everything you need! Blessings on you and your family!

  24. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Amen.. Lord help and save us

  25. Bridgette says:

    ALICIA GILBERT I appreciate your post. I can relate because I recently moved from Louisiana to Kentucky but for very different reasons. Still I too realize the importance of keeping God first in my life. May God make your path straight. May He go before you. In Jesus name Amen.

  26. Brittany Turner says:

    Erikka, I think it helps to associate yourself with a body of believers you can be proud of, and to be a light yourself. Not all churches are made the same, and by aligning yourself with a biblical but grace filled one can help you to overcome. Plus shame is not ours in Christ. Everything can be placed at the cross so begin to lament (cry out) and pray for those believers as you set a new standard in your circle of influence by your own actions.

  27. Ashley M says:

    Appreciate this reading. Writing in with a request myself. My partner of almost 1.5 years now is struggling to forgive me for a misstep on my part. I’ve done all I can to remedy the situation, but it seems he just needs time. It’s frustrating for me to give him this space when I feel I’ve given him so much leeway before. Perhaps this is the Lord signaling us to move on from one another. I hope not, but even in that event, it’s hard to live with the fact that he may put a label on me that I know isn’t true. I often strive to be blameless, but moments like this remind me that I’m flawed too. I appreciate your prayers.

  28. Rachel Headrick says:

    These were exactly the words I needed to hear today! Thank you!

  29. Emily says:

    Hi sisters.
    I have been reading SRT for several years now and am always so encouraged by the vulnerability and truth that is represented in the comments by each of you.
    Today I write asking for prayer. My husband is deploying tomorrow for the first time. I am anxious, scared, overwhelmed, and sad. I know so many have done this before but that doesn’t make it easier. I am confident that God will see us through this season and am hopeful that it will produce fruit in us both individually.
    Thank you!

  30. Victoria E says:

    Hi Alicia. Thanks for being so honest! I have been where you are- I graduated from med school a few years ago and it is rough!! Things do get better though, I pray you will look back with fondness at this upcoming transition and that it will mark the start of a wonderful new chapter.

  31. Alexis says:

    Hi Alicia,

    I know the difficulty of leaving a community you love. I will be praying for you as you finish your studies. I will pray that your relationship with God flourishes. Finally, I pray that you find time for community to refresh your soul.

  32. Jennifer Ficklen says:

    I really need to commit to constant prayer. I do pray but I need to be more deliberate about it during the day. God help me to walk in this commitment I want to follow you in. Amen

  33. Kristina Mari says:

    Last sentence correction: Believing in Jesus does not automatically make you a perfect person (so you are still susceptible to sin – and of course, this includes those who are in the church), but it does give you an awareness of God’s righteousness and his love. Christians don’t lead by example by being perfect; it is through our imperfections that God’s strength is made all the more evident. So, when we think of the example Christians give to unbelievers, it should be one of humility, not of perfection.

  34. Alicia Gilbert says:

    I’m going to “keep it real” this morning. I’ve always struggled with community. I’ve recently felt the call to recommit to community. Then this week, I not only skipped my community group meeting, but I also skipped church, telling myself I had too much studying to do. Truth be told, I didn’t really get all that much studying done either. And it was a silly excuse anyway because I always have time for God and community if I get my priorities straight. Today, I’m inspired by the commitment of this young church even in persecution. I’m asking God for forgiveness for letting my priorities get out of whack. But I’m also asking for your prayers. I have just recently felt “off” both in my quiet time and personally. I’m getting ready to graduate law school. I’m feeling so burnt out and have a hard time focusing on my school work like I once did. I’m about to move across the country for the first time. I’m excited but also scared because it’s new. And I’m leaving behind a community I love so much but haven’t gotten to see in the same way over the past year. But this week I’m going to focus on having my priorities straight and putting Him first, trusting He will work all of this out in His time. Thank goodness for this new week and new mercies; Lord knows I needed them!

  35. Linda Gilbow says:

    I loved all the prompts to prayer that leaped out at me. One is to pray that my children and grandchildren stand firm in the Lord. Another is to pray for my church, that our love for one another will overflow, especially with all the different responses to the pandemic. When we suffer, we must rely on the power of God and hold on to the confession of our hope.

  36. Kristina Mari says:

    Erikka- No one has addressed your question yet, and I wanted to give my perspective. Growing up Catholic, I went to church every Sunday because it was required of me – and not because I had a personal faith with God. As I grew older, God pulled me back into my faith via a non-denominational Christian church, which an an emphasis on building a personal, intimate relationship with God. Catholicism will always hold a special place in my heart (as it is still my family’s faith and the way they connect with God), but I find that the “Church” isn’t necessarily a formal “institution”, but rather the entire community of Christians (Catholics, Baptists, and other Protestant groups) that collectively believe in Jesus.

    I say all this to say when you think of “the Church”, do not simply think of the formal institution that is displayed on TV (e.g. the Pope at the Basilica in Rome), but rather, think of that PLUS the entire community of Christians around the world. Then, think about how God has found a way to love us all – even those who have acted shamefully in the past. Gods righteousness is above our own righteousness- even sometimes those who are present in the Church. Believing in Jesus does not automatically make you a perfect person (so you are still susceptible to sin), but it does give you an awareness of Gods’s righteousness.

  37. ADB says:

    Praying for you ERB

  38. Maura says:

    Such good words today. Lord help me to trust you with everything and walk with you. Strengthen me Lord to move beyond the thingsI have allowed to take my time and pour myself into what you have for me. Please direct my path Jesus, and give me wisdom in this season.Angie, I am so glad Hod gave you time with your family on a field trip I have always wanted to see the Creation museum since I heard Ken Ham speak about 20 years ago. So happy for you and thankful for your love for all your students. Hugs dear Sister! He is faithful, may we all dwell there knowing He loves us so deeply and so dearly. Thank you for your words Erb. He is so very good! Appreciate your prayers Sisters for wisdom, for God to reveal truth as for bending of hearts and knees in my family. For opening of eyes. It is much and a story that is long and heartbreaking, but I have seen His miracles and now am praying for more. Thank you.

  39. Betsy E says:

    The more I read the Bible and devotional books, the better I am becoming at listening. I love how God is working in my life and am so grateful❤️

  40. Deb Ireland says:

    The more I learn to walk with God the easier it is to be obedient. I used to try so hard to display the fruit of the Spirit and fail so miserably. Lately I have been working on my relationship with Him through reading the Bible, prayer, and scripture memorization and it is so much easier to see the Fruit in my life. I like the reminders of that in this passage and commentary. Lean into Him, sisters.

  41. Magdalena Hauman says:

    Angie, you are the church! We as individual Christians need to step out and show the world who Jesus really is and not rely on “the church”. God placed you where you are for a reason, you can influence those around you. Remember that the Bible even say that in the last days there will be wolfs in sheep’s clothing in the church.

  42. Taylor says:

    As a young adult navigating the “real world” Christian community is SO important!! Per the Holy Spirit’s nudging I got connected with a young adult group that meets via Zoom once I moved back to Philadelphia for my clinical placement this past September. Over the summer I also reconnected with a friend from grade school who is still walking with the Lord. I definitely feel encouraged and empowered after meeting with these people, and am trying to prioritize it even in this busy season of acclimating to my new job.

  43. Erikka Durdle says:

    I’ve been ashamed of my faith in the last few years, I think because the Church has acted so shamefully, at least what is largely seen and heard by unbelievers. How do I reconcile my deep shame of the Church with my desire to grow and embolden my faith in Christ?

  44. Erikka Durdle says:

    that is largely seen and h my deep shame of the church with my des

  45. Churchmouse says:

    What sweet refreshment today’s reading is! Encouragement is a balm to the soul. 1 Thessalonians 3:6,7 brought to mind (does it ever really leave?) this pandemic and the churches closing or restructuring attendance. I’m sure pastors were longing to see their congregations, yet were very happy to see folks adapt to online services so that the Word would still be proclaimed for them. Discipleship and fellowship took on a new look. Many of my friends have said they have grown deeper in their faith, that they “own” it more for themselves, because of the necessity of creating their own study and worship experience in their homes. Parents sought online worship experiences for their kids and they all grew closer because of it. Our family’s Christmas Eve service will be one I will always cherish. This unique season need not be a wilderness experience. It can be a season of putting down deep roots. The regathering in our houses of worship can be all the richer.

  46. ERB says:

    Today’s reading brought to mind one of my all-time favorite quotes:

    “He was the first to recognize me and to love what he saw”
    (this quote is from Emily Brontë’s: Jane Eyre) but I think it fits perfectly with what we read about today…
    I need to remind myself of this more often…. God SEES me, ALL of me and He loves me and wants to encourage me to grow closer to Him. God even loves those parts of me that aren’t fully developed and are not so “blameless” … “In the biblical Greek language, “blameless” means a serious calling to be free of fault, to be perfect, to be so far above reproach no one can say anything bad about you. …Blamelessness, it seems, doesn’t happen through individualistic striving. It calls for living in a tension between actively walking by God’s instruction and “relying on the power of God”
    …Wow!! I LOVE this!!! The tension between actively walking in God’s instruction and relying upon the power of God is something that God is in the midst of teaching me… it has been extremely difficult for me to find and maintain that tension/balance and I CRAVE your prayers sisters!!! May each of you be BLESSED today and take encouragement KNOWING that YOU are SEEN and loved!!!

  47. Angie says:

    We do not vacation, especially during spring break. Normally, I rest a lot to finish the school year strong. Normally. This year, thanks to our oldest son and his wife, we accompanied them on a vacation to see The Creation Museum, The Ark, and finished up with a time of hiking in the Smokey Mountains. (My husband had a hip replacement 2 years ago, and I had broken my ankle both vertically and horizontally last summer, so we weren’t sure how we would do. I am extremely allergic to poison ivy, and carry an Epi pin for wasp stings. All in all though, we are in good health, really.)
    The Creation Museum and The Ark were wonderful. We were impressed with how each looked at the world and biblical view of things. They also did an excellent job of scientific study of the events. They were beautiful and fun. We will go back.
    Staying in a cabin and hiking the mountains brought us face to face with God’s magnificence and our limitations. I praise God that none of us got poison ivy (we were all over areas where it would grow). Though we saw bees, we were not stung, they just sort of left us alone. My husband’s hip, and my ankle, grew stronger as we kept up with energetic 6 and 4 year old boys who adore nature, and a 22 month old little lady full of spirit; all of whom we adore.
    Paul is writing in today’s scripture to believers he is not able to be with. He finds they are being faithful and continues to encourage them to draw even deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ. While the attractions at the Creation Museum and Ark were magnificent. Most beautiful of all was the atmosphere of the employees. They exuded a love for Jesus. The “air” was somehow different. The gentleness and love expressed, even in a very busy place, reminds me of how Paul must have felt. The time spent with family, whom we love and cherish, and who share our love for Jesus, encouraged and inspired us, while surrounded by God’s glorious creation and examples of His love.
    So, today I return to my classroom. No doubt I will find children whose week has been the opposite of mine. Children for whom school is their safe place, and we have been out for a week. I will have exhausted children who pushed through activities and stimulus last week. Some will be ready to return to the known schedule. My prayer is that each will be greeted where they are, with love that reminds them of, or gives a glimpse of, the Savior who loves them. Thank you Lord for the refreshing encouragement of being around those whose love for You shines brightly. Allow me to shine each day as well, with Your Light and Your Love. Amen.

  48. Kristen says:

    This other devotional I read today talks about relying on God’s power and strength and not ours. Here is a link if anyone wants to read this and be encouraged.
    May God bleed and protect you all and your families and friends today!

  49. Blessed Beth says:

    I love that we are to listen to others stories , this one of my favorite things to do and be an encourager. I just read through yesterday’s requests and am praying for each of you. So happy churchmouse that you were able to return to church, we had our second shot almost two weeks ago and plan to return masked this Sunday. Excited and nervous it has been over a year! Praising God that it was streamed, especially for my shut in friends.
    God carry each of you today.

  50. Kelly says:

    May GOD make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Amen.
    And God is faithful to do just that

  51. Mea.Fraga.Siara R.Aneirek.Pine says:

    I am hopeful for love to my relatives and, believe to load everyone has and sinned everyone has too will be better to be see our LORD of God. Amen.