Ten Pastoral Prayers Before You Reopen Your Church Campus
Many churches are in the process of reopening. Pastors and church leaders are answering questions last asked during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. One hundred years ago, many churches closed their campuses for a season. One hundred years later, we are reliving the reopening. Much has changed in the last one hundred years. Prayer has not.
Planning and preparation are critically important. Likely, you’ve already spent hours in meetings discussing what to do. The spiritual and physical health of your congregants depends upon a good plan. Those hours are worth it. But don’t forget to pray!
How can you pray? Before you gather in-person, seek God’s guidance.
1. Passion for people, not numbers. The worship space will likely have fewer people present. For many churches, state governments will require capacity limits in rooms. If you previously struggled with caring more about numbers than people, now is a good time to take a new posture. Pray God gives you this passion.
2. Understanding for those not ready to return. Many of those in at-risk categories will want to wait longer to come back to the church campus. They are no less important than those who attend on campus. Pray for those who are unable or not ready to return.
3. A filling of the Holy Spirit over comfort with nostalgia. I have a deep love for the sanctuary room. Even when I’m alone, I still enjoy the comforting presence of the room. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, but our prayers should be first for a filling of the Holy Spirit.
4. Outward movement rather than an inward bent. Pray your church returns with a desire to reach outward rather than inward. Pray the pandemic is a wake-up call for evangelism, not a catalyst for selfishness.
5. Compassion for the lonely. The psychological toll of the last couple of months is unknown. Isolation is never beneficial. Pray for those who are experiencing loneliness. Pray your church shows compassion.
6. New avenues for creativity. The consequences of the pandemic are not all bad. Creativity exploded as churches were forced into new methods of ministry. Pray these new avenues expand even as churches start to gather again on campus.
7. Protection for the elderly. Your older generation is more at risk. Pray God protects them. Many churches were built on the backs of those who are now later in years. Thank God for their work. Ask God to keep them healthy.
8. A culture of caring and hospitality. The first impressions ministry is always important—even more so the first few weeks of reopening. Pray for the front lines of hospitality. Pray for a culture of caring.
9. Sensitivity with guests. Inevitably, the Holy Spirit will prompt people to show up for the first time. These guests could be desperate for spiritual guidance, longing for connection, or bringing a long list of questions for God. Pray for extra sensitivity with those who bravely approach your campus for the first time.
10. Graciousness with questions. A crisis will cause people to question their beliefs. Pray for graciousness for those who are honestly seeking God even during a season of doubt.
I am sure all of you are planning for reopening. But don’t forget to pray! The plan for your church always includes prayer.