Monday, November 09, 2009

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Continuing to Pray for Ministers

The Pastor’s Perspective
Vol. 30 Num. 4
“Continuing to Pray for Ministers”

Last week, we began a look at Ephesians 6:19-20 where Paul details a list of seven prayer requests for preachers. We saw, first, that we are to faithfully intercede for ministers and, second, that we are to pray for their consistency in heralding the Word. This week we consider the next four directions (#3-6) for prayer that God sets down in that passage.

3. Christian are to pray for their ministers to be given a divine supply of truth. Note that Paul asks that we pray“that . . . words would be given to me.” It is not the word of man that saves, but the Word of God. We need men who will speak His Truth, not their opinions, if we expect to see the hand of God in revival. So we need to pray for God to put His Word in ministers’ mouths.
4. Christians are to pray for the fear of God in their ministers. Paul asks for petitions “that . . . I would make known with boldness the Gospel.” This may refer to him speaking boldly (a request he makes later), or it may point to his desire to preach the word in the fear of God (rather than man). That is, Paul wants to be conscious of the fact that God is his judge and audience when he preaches. What God thinks is what ultimately matters, not what men think. Whatever the case, we ought to pray that our ministers are God-fearers and not man-pleasers.
5. Christians are to pray for their ministers to make known the mystery of the Gospel. The flip side of this last prayer request is “that . . . I would make known the mystery of the Gospel.” In other words, Paul does not want to be sidetracked in his proclamation. He needs to get to the heart of the issue if he is going to get into the hearts of people. We, too, need to pray that preachers get to the essence of the Gospel every time they preach. The “mystery” (which means a “public secret” -- something that was once concealed that has now been revealed) is that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and that through his life, death, and resurrection He is the one and only Savior for the world (Jew and Gentile).
6. Christians are to pray for their ministers’ endurance under tribulation. Paul adds the comment“for which I am an ambassador in chains” This reminds us that every minister worth his salt is going to be tested. Paul was imprisoned, and eventually martyred. Luther was excommunicated and hunted. Rutherford was exiled. Whitefield was mocked. Show me a faithful minister and I’ll show you a man who knows tribulation: a man with a broken heart. This is the way God insures that you have a man with a tender heart to care for you in time of need. First, He breaks the heart of the shepherd. Then he calls the broken-hearted shepherd to tend His sheep. So, we need to pray that God’s men hold up under His divine discipline.
Well say more next week. Until then, may the Lord keep you all.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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