Reading: Praying for Preachers Produces Power
Praying for preachers produces power in sermons. Tony Campolo learned this lesson well when his church called a new pastor. As with most churches, there was a search team charged with the task of finding the person who would lead them after the long pastorate of a well-known, influential pastor. Not only was his previous pastor well-known and influential, he was a great preacher. So, imagine Campolo’s surprise when the search team recommended a man who had just graduated from seminary! He was still learning preaching!
Campolo spoke to the chairman of the committee about his concerns. He said that the church needed an experienced pastor/preacher, and made his views known pointedly and with emphasis. They deserved someone great, said Campolo. The chairman of the search team, a man of great faith, responded to Tony with words he took to heart. He said, “But Tony, we’re going to pray him great.” In this post I want to continue the subject of our last post, the idea that we need to have people praying for us. Note the title of this post: Praying for Preachers Produces Power in ministry.
Praying for Power in Paul’s Ministry
In the last post we looked at passages from Romans 15 and Colossians 4, where Paul asked people in those churches to pray for him. Another relevant verse is Ephesians 6:18-20. The context here is the great section beginning at verse 10 of Ephesians 6 that deals with spiritual warfare. He reminds the Ephesians (and us) that our battle is “not against flesh and blood”, but rather, it is against spiritual forces of evil. The battle requires spiritual force, therefore, something beyond our own power. Therefore, we should be people of prayer, especially for leaders/preachers.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassadorin chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Paul recognized that the success of his preaching was going to come through the prayers of other people, as they asked God for the Apostle’s Success in preaching. He knew that praying for preachers produces power in the message.
Spurgeon’s Prayer Support Produces Power
There is an old story about Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher. A group of college students visited the Metropolitan Tabernacle, where Spurgeon was the preacher, in order to hear the great preacher. Spurgeon offered to show them around the building. At one point, he offered to show them the “heater plant”. There in the basement, the students saw hundreds of people praying for God’s blessing on the service and on Spurgeon’s preaching. Praying for preachers produces power in the pulpit.
Three Kinds of Prayer Partners
Here’s the question: Who is praying for you? I have found it amazingly easy to recruit people to pray. They are eager to do this for their pastor, if only invited and trained.
One of my professors years ago suggested that we think in terms of recruiting three kinds of prayer supporters.
Level 1: Intimate
On the first level, or Level 1, look for just a couple of people that you trust implicitly, people with whom you can be totally honest. I have only one intercessor at this level. He’s someone I’ve known for many years, and someone that I trust totally. He prays for me faithfully, and the requests that I give him are different than I give to anyone else, and I am able to share with him where my temptations are, where I am feeling attacked or insecure, etc. The way we connected was that I asked him to take on this role for me, and he was ready and eager to share in my ministry in this way.
Level 2: Personal
At level 2, I had about 35 intercessors when I was regularly pastoring and preaching. Each week I sent out an email that gave my schedule for the week, as well as things to thank and praise God for, and then shared requests about anything special going on in church. I recruited a few of these people, and then they recruited the rest.
Level 3: Broad and General
Level 3 of intercessors involves the church as a whole. Share with the church the big requests, things like challenges in the church, plans that are being made, and the like. This is a public invitation to engage in ministry in this way.
So if praying for preachers produces power who’s praying for you?