60 Seconds of Pastoral Pondering
He was a fellow minister, although almost twice my age. We didn’t know each other well, but he had stumbled on to me and needed a listening ear. His tale was one that many in ministry could relate to … relationships run amok in a small congregation. There were sides drawn, ultimatums thrown down and intractable positions taken. And he was in the middle of it all with his own ‘bulls eye’ painted on his back.
He didn’t expect an answer from me. But he needed one.
I was still trying to figure the whole ‘ministry thing’ out myself. I had no answers.
So with a somewhat faked knowing look and a total lack of direction to give, I began to mouth the words, “Well, the least I can do is pray with you.” (I knew something spiritual to do anyway!)
But before the sentence got completely out of my mouth, God’s Spirit spoke a theology-altering message to me fast enough to stop me mid-sentence.
“The least you can do?” (emphasis mine and His) he seemed to say. “To pray is never the least you can do in any situation … prayer always carries the most weight.”
And how utterly true his words that day have proven to be in my own life and ministry. As A.J Gordon said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
So … to the point.
– Is prayer our front line offense or primarily a defensive position we fall back on when things have gone south?
– How should prayer relate to our counseling schedules? To the prioritization of our daily lives? To the way we care for the sheep under our care?
– How much time should prayer occupy in the hours of my day?
– Can I be praying as I’m moving about or must I be tied to one spot?
– What kind of prayer support do I owe my congregation and how best can I carry that responsibility out?
Obviously we could all pray more and the truth of the matter is, life is busy … time options are few … there seem to be more reasons not to pray than to pray … the enemy has more at stake in this issue than we like to think about.
I would like to hear from you on this important challenge … our personal prayer agenda. If you would like to respond, please do so via a return email. I am a teacher of some things, but most definitely a student in this arena.
God’s continued blessings on your labors for his Kingdom!
Fresh Heart Ministries