Seven Heartfelt Prayers by Pastors for Their Churches in 2021

I could begin this article with another cliché about 2020, but I won’t.

Pastors are ready to move forward. Church members are ready to move forward. Indeed, it’s time to move forward.

In that light, I asked pastors a simple question on social media: “What are your prayers for your church for 2021?” I received hundreds of responses, but the answers were amazingly consistent. Here are the top seven prayers in order of frequency:

  1. Unity in the church. Many pastors noted that 2020 has not only been a time of stress, it has been a time of stress resulting in disunity and bickering. Masks or no masks? Gather or not gather? Social distance or not? Many of the members took their complaints to social media.  I wish we could devise a rule that requires members to spend twice as much time in the Bible as they do on Facebook. We might have revival.
  2. Embracing the community. It has truly been heartwarming to see so many pastors have renewed conviction to be a gospel presence in their neighborhoods. These pastors are now praying that their church as a whole reach and minister to the community. Your church address is no accident. Your church was placed in your community to be a gospel presence. 
  3. More evangelism. One pastor put it this way, “I am not praying for our church to do more evangelism; I am praying for our church to do any evangelism.” Another pastor marveled at how far so many churches have strayed from the priority of sharing the gospel. “We have become so busy doing good things,” a pastor noted, “that we have neglected the best things.
  4. Embracing change. A number of pastors prayed that their church members will embrace change more readily in 2021. They realize the urgency of the moment. Business as usual will result in decline or even the death of the church. Many of these pastors have experienced worship wars and other conflicts. They know major change must take place, so they are praying it will come without major conflict.
  5. Eradication of COVID. Very few of us really expected the pandemic to last this long at this level of intensity. COVID has taken its toll on our health, on our emotions, on our marriages and families, on our businesses, and on our churches. Like all of us, pastors are ready for the pandemic to get under control.
  6. Return of church members. “I want us all to be back together again,” a Michigan pastor commented. “I really miss a lot of my church members.” Though these pastors are realistic and know not everyone will return, they are ready for as many as possible to gather again in the worship services, groups, and ministries.
  7. Elimination of the unnecessary activities. “One of the positive consequences of the pandemic,” a Florida pastor shared on social media, “is that we were able to see we really didn’t have to have all the programs, activities, and meetings we had. It’s my prayer that we will continue to refine our ministries and eliminate all the busyness that really did not make a difference.”

 Thank you, pastors. You are on the front lines of ministry. You deserve our gratitude and not our criticisms. We pray with you for these seven prayers and many more you expressed.

 Have a great Christmas, and may 2021 truly be a wonderful new year.

Posted on December 14, 2020

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Paul Duffy says on

    This is Awesome. I am on the Lakeside Community Church Prayer ministry and we have been praying a lot for the outreach in Community for awhile glad it is one of the seven. Blessings

  • Teresalyon says on

    I really agree so much and my prayers and Gratefulness to all the Pastors ..

  • I also pray, that we as Believers during Lockdown, do not get trapped in the worlds fascination with Great Spectacles for the eyes such that our desire and yearning for the Greatest Spectacle ever, the Cross of Calvary gets numbed and that our hearing for the voice of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is not impaired.

  • Thank you so much for this insight Thom. Indeed, a great unintended outcome of the pandemic was the excess busyness with “secondary” activities. I pray, that our Churches mobilize our CONGREGANTS and households to really become the ministry and present the Love of the Cross and the Hope only found in having Jesus as the only Savior.

  • Amen & Amen Thom !

    And may father god bless you richly for your exemplary ‘Kingdom Work’ ! You very aptly ‘SHOW’ us that it is past time to realize that The Great Commission is exactly that, ………………. ‘ A Commission ‘ from Adonai / God and must no longer be treated as ‘The Great SUGGESTION’ !
    May I dare to say that N-O-W is the time to ‘ Stand and CONTEND for the faith once for ALL delivered ‘? Bless You Thom, and Thank You for the EDIFICATION you offer all of us. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays in the Holiest of names !
    humbly His, messianic pastor William (bill) Bayliss


    MATHEW 28. 18 TO 20

  • I pray for each and every Pastor that Almighty God has created for His purpose and their families!!! May the Mighty Masterous Majestic Holy Lord God Almighty Be their Strength in Jesus name!!! Thank you Compassionately to all the Pastors that are out there in this world we live in, I pray that God’s Perfect Peace will be with you all!!!

  • Grace and peace. I translated it to Portuguese and publicized it in my blog, obviously quoting you. Blessings

  • Howard Cooksey says on

    I pray daily for my Church and the one i left.Prayer bieng such an easy thing to do i believe the Church should always be mentioned.

  • Bill Effler says on

    Great counsel, as always!

  • Robin G Jordan says on

    Two ways churches can help to eradicate COVID-19 is encourage folks to follow the CDC’s recommended guidelines and follow these guidelines themselves and to encourage folks to get vaccinated against the virus and to get vaccinated themselves. As long a churches and folks refuse to follow public health safety measures like wearing face masks, social distancing and other recommended measures and refuse to be vaccinated, COVID-19 is going to be with us. God works in many different ways. He sometimes works through the miraculous but he often works through the ordinary.. We should not forget that God could send angels to spread the good news like he did on the night of our Lord’s birth. But he does not. He sends us.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      I hope this article on prayers by pastors does not become yet another debate on masks, social distancing, and vaccinations. My intent was to encourage pastors, not engender conflict.

      • Robin G Jordan says on

        Wasn’t my intention to engender conflict, Thom, but rather to draw attention to the positive role that churches can play in eradicating the virus. What safety measures we should take and whether we should get vaccinated should have never become a point of contention in the first place. Unfortunately our times have become marred by unnecessary division and polarization.

    • Craig Giddens says on

      You’re telling church members it is their duty to get the vaccine even though you haven’t a clue as to the side effects which could very well be worse than the virus.

  • Craig Giddens says on

    What about a commitment to sound Bible preaching and teaching? After all the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).

    “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:13)

    “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

    “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

    • Matthew McCraw says on

      The answer to the question for many pastors was probably based on something that has been lacking in 2020. Thankfully, many of these churches were able to maintain a commitment to sound biblical preaching and teaching. Since the pastor is normally the one teaching, he could have continued to do this all along through the pandemic.

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