I recently wrote an assignment for a seminary class on pastors and prayer. The book I refer to is The New Guidebook for Pastors. Here is snippets of the paper that I thought would apply for those in leadership. Read. Respond. Resound.
Have you ever noticed a newborn baby? Have you thought about all the ways the parents of that baby act/react to every need of the infant? The baby without the parents is helpless. The baby wakes, the parents are there, the baby cries and the parents provide. The baby is hungry the parents feed. And the baby is dirty, the parents wash. The baby represents the believer. We like the baby are dependent on a heavenly Father. He provides for our daily needs. Without God, we are helpless. Jonathan Edwards said, “Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life.”
The authors expressed two venues of prayer which are personally and collectively.[i] The authors provided 2 passages of Scripture to support their writing, however I have provided to passages that I feel better illustrates the importance of personal and collective prayer.
Personal: Matthew 6:9-15, “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.[ii]
Proper prayer gives the pastor proper perspective on the larger picture. We are dependent on God for our needs, our guidance, our forgiveness and the hope of things to come. Without perspective we are doomed to follow our aspirations and goals instead of a godly purpose and path.
Collectively: Acts 2:42-47, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”[iii]
They devoted themselves to prayer. The early believers were together and had a common goal and devotion to the teaching of the word, communion and to prayer. Prayer not only provided a connection point but it was also a magnifier of God’s glory. The believers were one in spirit and purpose. And the Lord added to their numbers. Prayer for the pastor should be first personal and should be applicable to the collective.
The authors end this section of prayer with a powerful statement. A pastor who fails to make prayer a priority in his ministry robs himself of the Holy Spirit’s anointed power, robs the church of personal contact with God, robs the lost of an opportunity to hear the gospel… robs the world of an awakening.[iv]
[i] Bryant, James W., and Mac Brunson. The New Guidebook for Pastors. (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing, 2007) 45.
[ii] The Holy Bible, New International Version, Matthew 6:19-15
[iii] The Holy Bible, New International Version, Acts 2:42-47
[iv] Bryant, James W., and Mac Brunson. The New Guidebook for Pastors. (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing, 2007) 49.