Be Praying Pastors and Churches
This blog post is part two of a five-part series entitled “Four Areas of Growth for Sovereign Grace Churches.
If you’re like me, when you see a book or a blog post on the topic of prayer, you instinctively cringe because prayer is one of those areas where you typically feel inadequate. Guilt immediately sets in because who among us “prays without ceasing.” In fact, if you’ve read this far into this post, thanks for hanging in there!
Be Praying Pastors and Churches Because God Rules and Reigns
In calling us to “be praying pastors and churches” I have no desire to heap on guilt. This post is not about motivating you to pray by reminding you of your inadequacy. Rather it’s about us seeing the infinite greatness and power of God in light of our limitations in a way that stirs prayer in our hearts. Our Bibles are filled with verses that reveal the rule and reign of God in our lives. Here is just one: “he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” (1 Timothy 5:15b ESV) Our lives; raising our families, pursuing excellence in the workplace, serving our church, and making disciples of all nations are all dependent on the providential life-giving activity of God. There is nothing that God has called us to do that is outside of the scope of his universal rule and reign in our lives. This truth helps us to shed any self-reliance and be disciples, pastors, and churches who pray fervently believing that our life-giving, life-preserving God will answer our prayers.
Be Praying Pastors and Churches Who Pray Out of a Desperate Dependence for God to Act
If my exhortation of calling you to pray is landing on you with a lethargic “ok, let’s pray” I would say that you aren’t desperate enough. Take a hard look at what is happening in our culture; whether it’s the trajectory of the social issues (e.g. legalization of same-sex marriage), or the current political climate, along with the theological battlegrounds that must be fought (e.g. complementarianism) and allow your soul to feel the desperate need we have for God’s power to change what we can’t change in our strength. Add to that our shared mission to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ by planting and strengthening churches in a world that is seemingly becoming post-Christian, and lethargy is replaced with a desperation for God to act in ways we can’t apart from his work and power. Let us, Sovereign Grace, be people who pray with a desperate dependence on God.
As one means of being desperately dependent on God, I am sending our pastors a quarterly list of “Sovereign Grace Prayer Requests” asking them to consider praying for our family of churches during a Sunday service once a quarter. Knowing that you will be praying for Sovereign Grace, I wanted to thank you ahead of time for doing so.
Be Praying Pastors and Churches Who Know That God is for Us
One of the reasons Paul wrote that verse we looked at earlier, “he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 5:15b, ESV) is because he wanted Timothy to see how small his opponents (the false teachers in Ephesus) were compared to the glorious rule and reign of God. Prayer does that! Prayer ushers us into the presence of the only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords and reminds us that if God is for us, nothing will stand against us!
Sovereign Grace, let us be a praying people whose desperate prayers fuel our proclamation, application, and advancement of the gospel. And as God answers our prayers, may it be clear to all that He is the only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. And may all that we do be for His glory alone.
Mark Prater is the Executive Director for Sovereign Grace and serves as an elder at Covenant Fellowship Church. He and his wife, Jill, have three married daughters and a growing number of grandchildren.
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