Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Prayer for Ministers

The Pastor’s Perspective
Vol. 30 Num. 3
“Pray for Ministers”

Prayer is one of the most important aspects of the Christian life. Indeed, it is so important that we often talk about our “prayer life” as if it were a separate existence! Prayer is one of the three great means of grace (the Word and sacraments being the others of that triad). Most of us probably know more about prayer than we put in to practice. It is the doing that is difficult for us. But I am also convinced that one of the things that keeps us from praying is not knowing what to pray. Fortunately, God has not left us to our own devices and creativity here. The Bible is filled with instructions, specific instructions on what we ought to pray for one another.

For instance (if you will allow me to be a bit selfish for a moment), God tells us exactly what to pray for ministers. There are, of course, many legitimate things we can ask of God for them. But the Bible gives us some specific matters for prayer that we dare not ignore. When you pray for ministers, youth workers, campus ministers, missionaries, church planters, and seminarians, what do you ask? Well, in Ephesians 6:19-20 (and we could look at other passages), we find seven directions on what to pray. This week we’ll look at the first two directives.
1. Christians are to faithfully intercede for ministers. “Pray for me,” Paul says. He repeats this plea elsewhere:“I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf” Romans 15:30. This first point, of course, is that we ought to pray for ministers! Surely if the exalted Apostle needs prayer in his ministry, his lesser brethren need your intercessions as we fulfill our duties. We actually join the minister in the work of the Gospel when we pray for him (as Romans 15:30 indicates).
2. Christians are to pray for their ministers’ consistency in heralding the word of God. Paul says pray “that whenever I open my mouth words would be given to me.” It is the Gospel minister’s job to herald the truth “in season and out of season.” But we preachers are often tempted to unfaithfulness or perhaps we grow weary in well-doing, and so we need supporting prayer, even as Aaron and Hur supported Moses. Furthermore, Paul asks that we pray for him to speak the very words that the Lord would have him speak. Surely every minister would be the beneficiary of such a prayer.
How blessed is the minister whose congregation so prays for him. We’ll look at the next four directions in Ephesians 6:19-20 next week. Until then, God bless you all.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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