Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Mighty Men of Prayer

The Pastor’s Perspective
“Mighty Men of Prayer”
First Published: August 9, 2004

A number of months ago, I came across a convicting and helpful quote. It comes from the pen of an early twentieth century Scottish Congregationalist theologian named P.T. Forsyth. Forsyth’s theology is not uniformly reliable, but it seems to me that he gets this point right: “What the Church needs today is not more or better technology, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men of mighty prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on technology, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer. The man —God’s man— is made in the prayer closet. His life and his profoundest convictions are born in his secret communion with God. The burdened and tearful agony of his spirit, his weightiest and sweetest messages are received when he is alone with God. Prayer makes the man; prayer makes the preacher; prayer makes the pastor.” These words ring even truer today, now that we stand in the twenty-first century, than when Forsyth first wrote them. Yet all around us there are ministers, churches and ministries chasing one fad after the next. Surely his words are timely in that regard.

But what struck me, especially, was his call to prayer. I know that I need to be more a man of prayer, and I know that my fellow ministers yearn to be men mighty in prayer. So, as a congregation, would you pray for us to become men who could be considered mighty in prayer, and who would in fact be mighty in prayer? And will you intercede for us using the words of Ephesians 6:19-20. “Pray on my behalf” says Paul there. If the Apostle Paul needed Christians’ prayers, how much more do we need yours? Pray (1) for our earnestness and faithful consistency in proclaiming the Word. That every time we open our mouths, we will steadfastly preach the truth (“in the opening of my mouth”); (2) that we would clearly speak just the things that God would have us speak (“that . . . utterance would be given to me”); (3) that we would have a holy boldness and Gospel freedom in our preaching (“to make known with boldness”) because you don’t want a man who will tell you what you want to hear, but one who will tell you what you need to hear! And pray, (4) that we would make known the mystery of the Gospel, lifting up Christ crucified. If we are to “to make known . . . the mystery of the gospel,” then there is to be a proper Gospel-focus in our preaching.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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