Welcome to Sunday, day 7 of our Pray-May Challenge.
What a day. All over the world, spanning every time zone, climate and culture, Christians are gathering to worship our Triune God. Just think about that. Amazing. Consider all the languages declaring “the wonderful things which God has done.” (Acts 2:11) Let your mind see the various faces meeting in myriad places, streaming from their scattered weeks to worship as one body in the Spirit and in truth.
And in the context of this wonderful worship, God’s people are receiving God’s Word as it is spoken or sung in some way. And God’s Word brings transformation, for as we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (NLT)
And today, in almost every context, there will be someone in the gathered body of Christ–a brother or a sister, usually of their own fellowship–who will stand up and share God’s word for his people.
They will read, share, preach, exhort, challenge, shout and whisper and weep and compel.
Some will do it well. Others will fumble around. There will be men in suits with PhD’s, trained in the best of our traditions. There will be women in sandals who have struggled to learn to read. There will be farmers in hats, with dirt under their nails, opening the pages of God’s word and offering food for the hungry. And there will be pastors or priests or ministers or elders, some well-paid, some poorly paid, and some not paid at all, but each offering up God’s Word for the profit of all.
Let’s pray for those preachers today.
For the first six days of our Pray-May Challenge, we’ve focused most of our attention on varying practices of prayer, from praying Paul’s prayers, Jesus’ prayer, and prayers of saints such as Patrick and Mary. Today, I invite you to pray for those who will, in some way and place, be opening up God’s Word to his people.
Preaching God’s Word is an awesome responsibility. James 3:1 offers a warning that “not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (NLT) Yikes. As a pastor who regularly preaches and teaching, I feel myself gulping a little when I read this warning.
Here’s some of the ways we can pray for preachers today.
- Pray God’s will for them. I’d suggest starting with one of Paul’s prayers–pray that “from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you [them] with inner strength through his Spirit.” Apply Day 2 to preachers.
- Pray for the Spirit to speak through them his precise and needed word for the communities they serve. The church is often struggling, and when we gather, we desperately need to hear God’s voice among us. Be it prophetic, pastoral, or personal, give your servants a word in season today, Lord.
- Pray for their families, pray for their daily needs, and pray for their physical, emotional and relational well-being. Pray for a strengthening of their calling, because we need them active and strong for the body of Christ, not burning out or disqualifying themselves. This is needful and true for those who are in full-time vocational ministry, but it is even more important for those part-time or bi-vocational or full-time fishermen/full-time church elder, often pulled in so many directions and yet so committed to the work of God that they sacrifice daily to see his church grow.
- Pray for the church as we receive God’s Word from these preachers–may we be receptive and obedient to Jesus’ leadership in our lives and in our church. May we hear Jesus speaking to us through a Spirit-filled member of his body.
- And don’t forget pray for a particular preacher you know, especially your own–but even better, name all the preachers you can name from your current city or town or county and pray for them today. Pray for the ones you listen to via podcasts or watch online. Pray for their protection and their encouragement. Pray that they would not be lead into temptation but be delivered from evil. Pray for an increase in their effectiveness. Pray for their relationship with God. Pray that they will speak God’s truth, for God’s people, so that God’s church is equipped “to do every good work” the Spirit has for us to do.
As a pastor and a preacher, I thank you for your prayers. And I join with you today in praying for preachers, right here in my home town and out to the various cities and corners of God’s World. Together, we join our voices and pray for our brothers and sisters everywhere–may we receive your word today, through your servants, so that we may live lives worthy of your calling upon us. Amen.