[Ed. note: This article is part of our weekly series of resources for churches and families called Cultivating Community published on Thursdays.]
If God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe; if he owns “the cattle on a thousand hills;” if he feeds even the sparrows and causes it to rain on the just and the unjust alike; if he loves and cares for the world he has made, then why don’t we pray more for it?
Creation care advocate Donald Wallace, writing at Restoring Eden, puts the question another way:
Most North American Christians do not give prayer for creation care the same emphasis as for evangelism or world missions. Yet someone once said, “the army of God marches on its knees.” Prayer is an important aspect of how creation care is distinguished from mere environmentalism. If “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” then seeking him is the first thing we must do.
Creation care should be a committment for churches that is commitment should be reflected on our prayer lists. Too often, however, Christians boil the call to be godly stewards of the environment down to a few short to-do’s. If we carpool, turn off the lights, buy “green” products, or conduct an energy audit on our home, we feel that we are doing our part to “save the world.” That is not to say that those actions aren’t valuable, but we should not forget that we are not the ones who can save the world; God is. He is delighted when we ask him to do what we are not able to.
Wallace gives us this reminder:
The good news is that we were never called to care for creation on our own. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a person remains in me and I in them, they will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15: 5). Prayer opens the door for us to seek his face, to learn of his plans for creation care, and to ask him to help us protect, preserve and nurture whatever part of creation he has put on our hearts.
Below are some ideas for how to pray for creation. Read through these ideas with a small group of people from your church, pray together, and then take some steps to make praying for creation care a higher priority at your church. Let us know what you decide to do on our Facebook page.
How to Pray for Creation?
Here are some ideas to help structure your prayer time. When you meet to pray with people from your church, choose a few of these prompts, have someone read one of them aloud, then spend several minutes praying together for that issue.
- Acknowledge that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things.
- Confess that humankind (including yourself) has often failed to care for creation in a way that is honoring to him.
- Ask God to help you see the glory of creation all around you and respond to it with praise and gratitude.
- Thank God for all the ways that he uses creation to care for your needs and the needs of every other living thing on the planet.
- Ask the Lord to provide ways for you to be a better steward of creation in your church, community, and family.
Praying for Creation at Church
- Gather a group of friends and come to church early on Sundays for a time of prayer specifically dedicated to creation care. Ask your pastor to put an announcement in the church’s bulletin or email and invite everyone to come.
- Hold a prayer vigil. Sometimes an extended worship service can provide the time to become focused on a certain topic. Meet together with people from church and share your prayers for creation, then sing songs that praise God for his provision and revelation through creation and pray.
- Pray outside. The old saying “Out of sight, out of mind” is true of prayer. Spend some time outside surrounded by God’s creation. Use what you see as a springboard for prayer. Invite others at church along or encourage them to spend time outside themselves.
- Learn about creation. Praise and knowledge are connected. If there is anyone in the church who is an expert in the environmental sciences or some other facet of God’s world, ask him or her to present on the topic at church. God’s handiwork is incredibly complex; the more we learn about it the more we will have to praise him for.