Week by week during our worship services at mgpc we pray for the other churches in our town, and for those people who lead them. (Usually a different church each week)
Reading this article by Greg Gilbert reminded me that it’s not a very common practice.
But we don’t look at the other Christian churches in this town as competition.
We hope they will faithfully share the Gospel and live it out, and that their witness will be a means that God is pleased to use to grow His kingdom.
Gilbert’s article reflects the same philosophy.
Praying for other churches also communicates an important truth about the various churches in a city: We are all on the same team. We all have the same mission, and it’s to proclaim the gospel of Jesus and make disciples of him. The last thing we should want as pastors is to communicate a provincial, myopic spirit among our members that recognizes good only in our church, and cannot see what God is doing more broadly. We serve a massive God, and an important way to show that truth to our people and teach them to rejoice in it is to teach them to care about God’s work in the lives of other churches.
I have found that praying for other churches also helps me to cultivate friendships with their pastors. It reminds me, week after week, that there are others engaged in this same work that so consumes me each day, and it challenges me to strain against any tendency I might have to isolate myself in the work.