Friday, November 7, 2008

Pray Much for Ministers

...pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph 6:19-20).

Here at TPC, we spend most of our waking hours working with pastors. When most people hear that job description, they usually respond with something like, "Sweet, what a cool job!" And though we reply with a polite smile, inside we are usually remarking, "Yeah, try following me around for a day."

Unfortunately, pastoral ministry has come upon hard times as of late and we confront that reality on a daily basis. Many, if not most pastors are more manager than minister, more therapist than shepherd, and more activities director than preacher. If we had a nickel for every time a pastor gloated to us about the size of his facilities, the variety of his programs, and the worth of his influence, we could, well... quit. So, needless to say, our approval rating for pastors today is at an all-time low. Which is probably what made Edwards' exhortation to a young disciple so striking.

In 1741 a young woman came to Christ after a revival had come to her town, possibly through the itinerant preaching of Jonathan Edwards himself. She had written to Pastor Edwards shortly thereafter seeking counsel on living the Christian life because her church was without a pastor. What Edwards wrote became a classic (yes, that is a redundant statement) of spiritual counsel for young disciples, reprinted several times over. Near the end of his exhortations, Edwards encouraged her,
Pray much for the ministers and the church of God, especially, that He would carry on His glorious work which He has now begun, till the world shall be full of His glory.

- Edwards, "Letter Addressed to a Young Lady," Memoirs, liv.
Edwards corrects our attitude by assuming two important truths: (1) The Lord works through pastors and (2) pastors, therefore, need prayer. This is important counsel for those of us who may too quickly express frustration before we pray for God to grant faithfulness. If Paul the Apostle asked his disciples, "pray on my behalf," how much more do the pastors over us and alongside us need our fervent intercession!

As disciples learn to pray, may they learn to thank God for the pastors He has given and may they learn to ask God to give them boldness, faithfulness, and fruitfulness in their ministry. Pray much for ministers.

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