Tuesday, February 24, 2009

a selfish request?

I always hesitate to burden people with more prayer requests, so although I know people pray for me (a lot), it sometimes feels selfish to ask people to pray for me. It seems a bit unfair that I get to have so many people pray for me when in my role as sr. pastor I know I probably get more prayers for me than just about anyone in our church. Well, as my heart and soul has recently been shown, I don't feel bad about it any more. Why? Because the pastor of a church needs more prayer!

Recently read C.H. Spurgeon's biography (famous 19th century British preacher - maybe the greatest of all time) and he constantly asked his people to pray for him. His ministry touched millions and I believe it is because he was prayed for. Paul, the apostle constantly asked people to pray for him. In his letters to the Ephesians, Colossians, Thessalonians, and Corinthians; he in some way says, "pray for us".

Why should you pray for your pastor? Let me list some reasons:
1. He above all knows how really weak he is in his own strength to do the task at hand. You may not see his weaknesses all the time, but he knows them and needs the strength of God to help him. The preacher knows just how human he is.
2. He alone knows the scope of the work. Leading a congregation is big. There is more than I can describe here, but just know that more than once I've leaned back in my chair and said to myself and God, "now what?"
3. He understands this calling as a trust. The pastor knows that this is not a job, but a calling and entrusting from God. I am not interested in messing up what God has entrusted to me. There is a pressure that goes with that.
4. Teachers are judged more strictly (James 3:1). I get to preach, but I know that whether the people who hear like it or not; God is the one judging my preaching.
5. The stakes are high. People's souls are on the line in the job of the preacher every day. Did you hear that? People's eternities are a part of my job description - every day.

Those are just a few reasons. So, I say because of those and more...pray for me; I need it.

2 comments:

Jacob Breeze said...

mike,

great post. and even those of us who are sent out from illinois are still praying.

you mentioned spurgeon. i've found this spurgeon quote helpful when it comes to receiving criticisms as a pastor:

As ministers we are very far from being perfect, but many of us are doing our best, and we are grieved that the minds of our people should be more directed to our personal imperfections than to our divine message….

Filled with the same spirit of contrariety, the men of this world still depreciate the ministers whom God sends them and profess that they would gladly listen if different preachers could be found. Nothing can please them, their cavils are dealt out with heedless universality. Cephas is too blunt, Apollos is too flowery, Paul is too argumentative, Timothy is too young, James is too severe, John is too gentle…

Well then, let each servant of God tell his message in his own way. To his own Master he shall stand or fall…

Judge the preacher if you like, but do remember that there is something
better to be done than that, namely, to get all the good you can out of him, and pray his Master to put more good into him.” from Spurgeon's Eccentric Preachers

Nancy said...

Michael,

One of the things I love most about my leadership at ECC is that they are not afraid to admit their human condition. It is an honor to pray for you and my home church peeps. Thanks for keeping it real.

Nanc