Sunday, July 9, 2017
The Praying Preacher
As I wrote in a blog a couple of days ago, preachers and spiritual leaders need to "pray and be prayer for..." if they are going to be real leaders for the church. I have no doubt that there have been many, many prayers offered by many, many people over the decades of my ministry and they have been prayers which have enabled me to be used by God as it would have otherwise been impossible. But, the other part of what E. M. Bounds wrote is another issue. While I have been prayed for, I have not always done the praying I needed to do.
Knowing that such a confession likely puts me in the company of a lot of preachers and spiritual leaders does not really make me feel any better as I look back over the years. There were times when the praying came naturally and I went with eagerness to the time set aside for the praying, but there were also those times when my prayers would not have filled a thimble. There were times when I did more preaching about praying than praying. It is not that I did not know to do differently, I did. I just did not always do what I knew at the time I should have been doing.
One of the things learned through the self-imposed dry seasons is the patience and the mercy of God. Even when I allowed myself to be so caught up in a lot of trivial ministry pursuits which drained any energy I might have used for praying, God still waited for me to make a move toward Him. Not only did He wait for me, He called to me like a Father calls to a son who has lost His way. I not only remember some of those dry seasons, but also the way He called me back to the ways of prayer by creating in me a hunger and thirst that could only be satisfied through being with Him. To return to Him when He beckons is always an overwhelming moment of sorrow and joy. Thanks be to God for being merciful time and time again to this old preacher who should have known better.