Thursday, 20 March 2008

Deliver us from prayerlessness

Terry Delaney who is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary made a comment regarding the Prayerlessness of students. He also speaks of his own frustration of being an ordained pastor, knowing he is called to ministry yet not having a church to pastor.

I wrote the following short devotional in September 2006 addressing prayer and ministry.

One of the areas that I like and believe is important in the subject of Christian Spirituality is the area of personal calling. Pentecostals believe that God does call individuals to certain types of ministry, and are open about saying – “God has called me to do this or that through personal revelation, prophecy and circumstance etc.

My own calling is to be a praying man, to raise others up to pray and to teach others how to pray. I have heard God tell me this a few times over the years and wondered how this calling was to work out. And so I have been praying for the last 7 years, “Show me, tell me, and reveal to me what exactly this calling means and how it is to pan out.” And over the last 7 years an increasing burden has come on me to plant a church and be its pastor – and I keep praying – “Lord is this really from you? How does this burden fit in with the calling you have given me"?

God has shown me how this calling fits into the pastoral ministry, and I have had a few aha moments over the last few weeks as all the pieces fit together. Eugene Peterson, the author of the Message Bible, wrote a book called, “The Contemplative Pastor” In this book he writes, the Pastor’s primary job is to be a praying person, to teach Gods people how to pray and be praying people. That their role is to bring the presence of God into their day to day life and this is achieved through prayer, which is communicating our needs to God, and trusting God enough to receive his provision through our asking.

Then last night I was reading the following by, E. M Bounds who says of the pastor in his book, The Necessity of Prayer
His main business is to turn them from being forgetful of God, from being devoid of faith, from being prayer-less, so that they become people who habitually pray, who believe God, remember him and do his will.The preacher is not sent to merely induce men to join the church, nor merely to get them to do better. It is to get them to pray, to trust God, and to keep God ever before their eyes that they may not sin against him.[1]
I wonder what would happen in our churches if our pastors had this revelation that their main job is to be a person of prayer? Teaching others to pray! Raising others up to pray! I wonder what would happen if our congregations took seriously and had the revelation that they too are part of this ministry of prayer, and undertook the ministry of prayer seriously in raising others to be prayers, teaching them how to pray? And the final question to ask is, “What will happen in your life, if you undertake to truly be a praying person, to raise up others to pray through teaching them how to pray?”

Let’s pray.

[1] E. M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer- Baker Books, Michigan 1984.


Terry Delaney said...

Amen and Amen, brother! I believe Act 6:4 is a prescriptive and descriptive verse for the pastor of any church, "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."

We have too many churches expecting their pastor to be a jack-of-all-trades. The problem is they expect them to be master of them all just as well.

Brother, as I get to know you more and more, I am humbled to know how God has worked in your life. It has been a blessing to be able to lift you up in prayer and see how God has moved in your life. Thank you for this post. I would also recommend Spurgeon's third chapter in his book "Lectures to my Students."

God bless.

Craig Bennett said...

Thanks for recommending that chapter Terry. I read it just now.

One of the things I enjoyed reading through his lectures is that he didn't care what others thought - he took on board others ideas - if he thought they squared with Scripture - such as George Fox's quakerism in being silent before God, or the idea of the RC priests going on silent retreats.

I have been thinking lately that I need to read more of Spurgeon's sermons over the last few days as I just finished reading a book on him. Your mentioning him prompted me to do so.

What you said about Acts is my personal belief also in that "Prayer" is the real ministry that God calls us to - this includes praying over / through the Scriptures.

What ever public ministry He places us into, whether it be scrubbing floors, plumbing or preaching it is the manifestation of that prayerfulness that causes us to be fruitful and effective.

I too am blessed through meeting you Terry. Blessings craig