Saturday, July 8, 2017

Being Prayer For

Now I know what my high school English teacher would say about my use of the phrase, "being prayed for..." but it carries with it an unmistakable message.  Preachers and spiritual leaders need other people praying for them.  Their leadership abilities are impaired without it.  I have often said that every preacher should be so blessed as to have a church like the Zoar United Methodist Church, a church on the Stapleton Charge, which I went to as a student and stayed on for a bit longer.  While there were many in that little country church who prayed for me, Mrs. Zeevie and Mrs. Estelle stood out then and stand out now in my memory.  They truly prayed for their young preacher.  I never doubted it.
All the way of my ministry there were many others, but at the last appointment I came to a surprising discovery one Sunday morning during worship.  Before the sermon I had to leave the pulpit area for a moment because of a coughing spell and nearly stumbled over John who was sitting on the steps leading out of the chancel area.  I found out that morning that he sat there most Sunday mornings while I was preaching.  It was the place he prayed for his preacher.  If such a find does not make a preacher work harder to be a better preacher, it is simply time to quit and find another line of work.
I am in debt to these saints who have invested their energy in praying for me.  While I may not be considered a five star preacher by anyone, except maybe my mother, any good preaching I did surely bore the marks of those prayers offered in my behalf.  Giving spiritual leadership to a congregation of folks is no easy task.  It may even be considered an impossible task if the preacher thinks it is all about him or her.  Whatever success any preacher or spiritual leader has is surely more about the way prayers have been offered to the Father in heaven than any personal skills and theological insight.  When such is forgotten, ego will surely get in the way and the preaching and leadership will turn into a message that says, "Look at me!" instead of "Come, see Jesus."

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