Complete sermon audio:
Through the letters of the apostle Paul, we discover key focus areas as we pray for our local church and those in leadership. Through our faithful praying for the local church, we help communities of believers mature into Christlikeness, fulfill God's purposes and walk in purity and holiness. Your prayers help God's people move forward in their journey of faith.
Duration:53 mins 36 secs

We can serve others through prayer, by praying for them.
Praying for others is a powerful "ministry" in itself.

We began this series by looking at the example of a man named Epaphras:

Colossians 4:12,13
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.

Notice how Epaphras prayed for believers - for the local churches - in three cities of Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis. He prayed for these communities of believers to be
perfect (mature, fully grown) and complete (filled up, nothing lacking, not falling short) in all the will of God.

So we need to pray for the local church. And that is what we will spend our time on today: How to pray and what to pray for the local church.

In as much as we need to pray for our own lives, for our family, we also need to pray for the local church that we are part of and for local churches that we care about.

The Apostle Paul
We do not know for sure how many churches the apostle Paul personally planted, possibly 20 churches or more. There were many churches started by people he ministered to and more churches from those.

The apostle Paul describes much of the hardships, persecutions and challenges he endured for the work of the ministry as he went about planting churches in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28

2 Corinthians 11:23-28
23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.
24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—
28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

Note what he states in vs 28-29

28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

Vs 29 "Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?" (New Living Translation)

Paul had a deep concern for many churches. What happened to any one in those communities - Paul felt it. When someone was weak, Paul felt weak with them. When someone stumbled, Paul felt "angry" about that.

Thirteen of the New Testament Epistles (letters) were written by the apostle Paul (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon), with the possible addition of Hebrews.
Some of these letters were written to churches he did not plant, but had much concern for: Romans, Colossians. The prison epistles—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon—are were written by the apostle Paul during his imprisonment in Rome (AD 60-62).

Paul's letters start on around Paul's second missionary journey in 50-51 A.D. and span the rest of his life when he was again imprisoned and killed in 66-68 A.D

52-53 A.D. (Second Missionary Journey) : 1 & 2 Thessalonians

57-58 A.D. (Third Missionary Journey) : 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans
62-63 A.D. (First Roman Imprisonment) : Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians
63-64 A.D. (During his release) : Hebrews, 1 Timothy, Titus
66 A.D. (Second Roman Imprisonment) : 2 Timothy
66 A.D. Martyrdom of Paul

Reference:
https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/pnt/pnt02.cfm

In several of his epistles, Paul shares how he prayed for the local churches.

We will consider these passages and learn on how to pray and what to pray for.

PAUL'S PRAYERS FOR LOCAL CHURCHES AND HIS REQUESTS FOR THEM TO PRAY FOR HIM
(Pastors, please highlight key points that Paul prayed about and requested prayer for, from these passages. Since we have several passages to cover, we need to move quickly. Will be great to present very quickly a little background of the church Paul is writing to, how and when that church started, Paul's relationship with that local church, when, from where and why Paul is writing to that local church.)

Use the prayers of Paul as a model to pray for our local church and for our pastors/leaders.

Romans 1:9  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,

Romans 15:30  Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,
31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.

1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;
I believe that a lot of Paul's praying was done in the Spirit - praying in tongues.
He must have spent much time praying in the Spirit for the local churches.

2 Corinthians 1:11  you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.

2 Corinthians 13:7,9
7  Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.
9  For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.

Ephesians 1:16-20
16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

Ephesians 3:14-19
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 6:18-20  
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Philippians 1:3-11
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4  always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,
5  for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
6  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
7  just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
8  For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
9  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
10  that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
11  being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
 
Philippians 1:19  For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Colossians 1:3,9-12  
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
9  For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11  strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
12  giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Colossians 2:1-3
1  For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,
2  that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 4:2-3
2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
3  meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,

1 Thessalonians 1:2,3
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,
3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God,
10  night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
11  Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.
12  And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
13  so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

1 Thessalonians 5:17  pray without ceasing,
1 Thessalonians 5:25  Brethren, pray for us.

2 Thessalonians 1:11,12
11  Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,
12  that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 3:1,2
1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,
2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

2 Timothy 1:3  I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,

Philemon 1:4-6
4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers,
5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints,
6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Philemon 1:22  But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.

Hebrews 13:18  Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.

SUMMARY
Summarize (A)What Paul prayed for the local churches and (B)What Paul requested the local church to pray for

  • Pray for the spiritual life of the church
  • Pray for the pastors/leaders of the church
  • Pray for the numerical growth of the church - for more people to be saved and discipled.
  • Pray for the ministries of the church


NOTES
ROMANS
The epistle to the Romans, then, was written from Corinth during the apostle's third missionary tour and second abode in that city, about A.D.58. It is the sixth of his epistles in the order of time, and stands in near connection with those to the Galatians and Corinthians, which were apparently written during the previous year. Concerning the founding of the church at Rome we have no information. At the date of this epistle Paul had not visited it. Founded in the metropolis of the Roman empire, it must have been of a mixed character, embracing both Jews and Gentiles;

PAULS LAST DAYS
We have seen that Paul arrived in Rome as a prisoner in the beginning of A.D.61; and if at this time his confinement continued only two years, he must have been liberated in the early part of A.D.63. Nero had not then commenced his memorable persecution of the Church; for the burning of the city took place in the summer of A.D.64; and, until that date, the disciples do not appear to have been singled out as the special objects of his cruelty. It is probable that Paul, after his release, accomplished his intention of visiting the Spanish Peninsula; and, on his return to Italy, he appears to have written the Epistle to the Hebrews. [154:2] The destruction of Jerusalem was at this time approaching; and, as the apostle demonstrates in this letter that the law was fulfilled in Christ, he thus prepares the Jewish Christians for the extinction of the Mosaic ritual. In all likelihood he now once more visited Jerusalem, travelling by Corinth, [155:1] Philippi, [155:2] and Troas, [155:3] where he left for the use of Carpus the case with the books and parchments which he mentions in his Second Epistle to Timothy. Passing on then to Colosse, [155:4] he may have visited Antioch in Pisidia and other cities of Asia Minor, the scenes of his early ministrations; and reached Jerusalem [155:5] by way of Antioch in Syria. He perhaps returned from Palestine to Rome by sea, leaving Trophimus sick [155:6] at Miletum in Crete. The journey did not probably occupy much time; and, on his return to Italy, he seems to have been immediately incarcerated. His condition was now very different from what it had been during his former confinement; for he was deserted by his friends, and treated as a malefactor. [155:7] When he wrote to Timothy he had already been brought before the judgment-seat, and had narrowly escaped martyrdom. "At my first answer," says he, "no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear; [155:8] and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion." [155:9] The prospect, however, still continued gloomy; and he had no hope of ultimate escape. In the anticipation of his condemnation, he wrote those words so full of Christian faith and heroism, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight -- I have finished my course -- I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me in that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." [156:1]

Paul was martyred perhaps about A.D.66. Tradition reports that he was beheaded; [156:2] and as he was a Roman citizen, it is not probable that he suffered any more ignominious fate.
http://biblehub.com/library/killen/the_ancient_church/chapter_x_pauls_second_imprisonment.htm