The new edition of Credo Magazine is now out and its focus is on the necessity of prayer in the Christian life.
“More than any other aspect of a pastor’s calling, prayer is the most difficult to maintain.
Prayer requires time.
And prayer is usually most fruitful when done in a quiet place, without constant interruption or distraction.
Unfortunately, prayer doesn’t demand your attention.
In the midst of people wanting your time and urgent tasks to complete, spending time in prayer is easy to neglect…
Pastors, I know your schedule is busy.
But, don’t forget to pray for your people this week. Pray with your people. Set time aside in a quiet place and cry out to God for your people.
Make the other pastoral matters wait.
It is safe to say they are less important than prayer.”
“I use the acrostic I. O. U. S as I come to the Bible.
I. Incline my heart to your testimonies. Psalm 119:36 (Since my heart is inclined to sleep and to work and to lots of things other than the Bible.)
O. Open my eyes to see wonders in your word. Psalm 119:18 (Since my heart is so often dull and blind to the wonders of the word.)
U. Unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11 (Since my heart is often divided and distracted in many directions)
S. Satisfy me with your steadfast love. Psalm 90:14 (Since my heart is so tempted to be satisfied in other things.)”
“Consider praying in concentric circles from your own soul outward to the whole world.
This is my regular practice.
I pray for my own soul first. Not because I am more deserving than others, but because if God doesn’t awaken and strengthen and humble and fill my own soul, then I can’t pray for anybody else’s. So I plead with the Lord every morning for my own soul’s perseverance and purification and power.
Then I go to the next concentric circle, my family, and I pray for each of them by name.
Then I go to the next concentric circle, the staff and elders of Bethlehem. I name them all by name.
Then I pray for you, Bethlehem Baptist Church.
And then I go out from there to different concerns and groups at different times: our missionaries, our denomination and its schools, the Baptist General Conference, Evangelicalism in general and the church around the world, especially the suffering church. The wider circles include the city and the state and the nation and the cultural and social issues of the world.
“If you ask, What do I pray for myself and my family and my church and the missionaries and the city and the nations, the answer is pray Scripture.”
God our Father,
Creator of all things,
true source of light and wisdom,
origin of all that is:
Thank you for calling me to faith,
for planting your Word in my heart,
and for delivering me from my sin.
Thank you for calling me to your service,
for giving me the ability to teach your Word
and share this good news with others.
I am overwhelmed at the thought of teaching on the gospel.
I feel so inadequate to deliver something of value about news that is priceless.
I am unworthy to be given the privilege of thinking deeply
about news too marvelous for angels to comprehend.
Be ever gracious to me.
Let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding.
Give me confidence in the power of your gospel.
Grant me clarity in understanding and proclaiming the truths of your Word.
Edify your church through this work.
empower your people to tell the gospel story,
to recount your wondrous deeds
which shine light on your glorious and holy character.
Lord Jesus Christ,
empower your people to announce the good news
that you have brought to earth the life of heaven,
that you have sacrificed yourself for sinners,
that you have been raised from the dead
and exalted as Lord over all creation.
empower us to live in light of the gospel,
declaring its truth with our words,
and embodying this truth through our actions.
Give us love for you and love for one another.
“Prayer can feel like the biggest burden of all.
We can always pray more, and we can’t possibly pray for every need in the world.
Even if we are extremely organised and disciplined, we won’t be able to pray consistently for more than a handful of people and problems.
But that doesn’t mean our prayers are limited to the items we can write on a postcard.
If your aunt’s cousin has up-coming heart surgery, pray immediately after you hear about it. When a missionary shares her requests, pray right on the spot for them.
Don’t let the moment pass you by.
Pray a short prayer. Trust God for the results and, in many cases, move on.”
“Model for your congregation faithfulness in praying through the directory in your own devotional times, and publicly encourage them to make praying through the directory a daily habit.
Your prayers for people don’t have to be long – just biblical.
Perhaps choose one or two phrases from Scripture to pray for them, and then pray a meaningful sentence or two from what you know is going on in their lives at present.
Get to know the sheep in your flock so well so that you can pray for them more particularly.
And for those you don’t yet know well, simply pray for them what you see in your daily Bible reading.”
You know my ignorance,
be my wisdom.
that I may not be a blind leader of the blind,
but a scribe well instructed about the kingdom of God.
Oh, let not the people see me;
let them see You in Your vesture dipped in blood!
Let not the people hear me;
let them hear You in your voice of saving truth!”
“I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.” (2 Timothy 1:3)
- Are we praying for our people regularly?
- Are we giving thanks for God’s work in our people?
- Are we praying for our people before we teach and admonish them?