Prayers for 2017

 A new year brings new resolutions, as well as the possibilities that come with new beginnings and fresh starts. If you’ve resolved to pray more in 2017, you may be wondering where your prayers will best be focused. Although prayer is at times a deeply personal connection between you and God, in which you ask Him to attend to personal matters in your life, prayer is also a powerful tool that can start movements, influence nations and transform people’s hearts.

In addition to the normal subjects of prayer—your family, your health, your relationship with God—there are a few other things you should pray for in 2017.

Pray for the Country

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you can admit that these are dangerous and divisive times in America. In addition to the fractured political climate in the country, the foundational principles that made the United States an example for the rest of the world—such as religious liberty and freedom of speech—are being threatened. And of course, there are the threats of terrorism on our shores from enemies foreign and domestic. In short, it’s more important than ever that we keep the United States in our hearts and prayers.

Pray for the Lost

Although we don’t need studies or statistics to tell us the story about lostness in the world—we feel the weakening of the world’s collective spirit every day—the numbers do remind us how important it is to make lostness one of our chief spiritual focuses in 2017. For example, in the United States, the Christian share of the population fell from 78% to 70% between 2007 and 2014 while the percentage of religiously “unaffiliated” significantly grew over the same period.

Evangelism is a powerful way of pushing back against the lostness in the world, and so too is prayer. Pray that God will make unbelievers hungry for the truth; pray that He will surround them with witnessing Christians; pray that He will intercede in their life and help release them from bad influences and unhealthy spiritual habits; pray that God show them the road to salvation.

Pray for the Church

The Christian church has been a cornerstone of western civilization for centuries, but its influence is shrinking. Especially here in the United States, church affiliation and attendance is in the midst of a decades-long decline. The faith and culture research organization Barna Group says this about the state of the American church: “Americans are attending church less…millennials in particular are coming of age at a time of great skepticism and cynicism toward institutions—particularly the church. Add to this the broader secularizing trend in American culture, and a growing antagonism toward faith claims, and these are uncertain times for the U.S. church.”

Pray for your local churches, but also for the collective church body. Pray for a culture of disciple-making; pray for unity amid diversity; pray for meaningful fellowship among churchgoers; pray for generous members, in terms of both volunteering and donations; pray for the success of church planters.

Pray for the Missionaries

By some estimates, there are close to half a million missionaries in the world. Missionaries are on the front lines in the fight against lostness, sharing the Gospel with those who are hungry for the truth and longing for something “more” in their lives. Surprisingly, more than financial support, missionaries almost always say that their greatest need is prayer. Praying for missionaries is an easy way to participate in the work of winning the world for God.

Check out PrayerConnect to find specific prayer requests from missionaries out in the field who need your support. You can also pray for missionaries in general, asking God for such things as protection, boldness, courage, and commitment.

If you want to go one step further in supporting missionaries and their families, consider a one-time or recurring gift to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. 100% of your donation is used to support and train missionaries in North Americ

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