In anticipation of the Lord’s return Paul exhorted us to do some things so much the more, Heb 10:25. Paul wrote in Heb 10:24, And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Prayer is good work. In Col 4:12 Paul noted that Epaphras was “always laboring fervently for you in prayers”. We need more prayer.
So much the more prayer. I’m not teaching you about something you don’t already know or that you don’t already do. I’m teaching you to do more of what you know to do. You need so much the more…
Prayer in your ministry of the word, Acts 6:4. Prayer is a vital part of preparing the messenger. Prayer and the ministry are a balanced pair. Prayer is not in exchange for, but balanced with, the ministry. Robert Piña said, It seems that there are some who pray and don’t minister and others who minister and don’t pray.
Pastor Keck said a few years ago, “I get more done now through prayer”. Josh Thompson said, “I don’t have the physical strength of my youth and must depend more on prayer”. Prayer was coupled with Paul’s ministry of the word. Col 1:3, 9 “praying always for you… do not cease to pray for you”.
And notice, prayer and “the” ministry not “my” ministry. You’re not praying to build your ministry. We are praying for the ministry of the word, however the Holy Spirit chooses to minister it. One preacher of a large church asked his staff, “What would stop if Holy Spirit pulled out”? Sadly, they learned that 95% of what they were doing in “their” ministry would continue even if the Holy Spirit weren’t involved.
Prayer in the work of your local church, Col 4:2-4. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. Col 4:12-13. …labouring fervently for you in prayers. Prayer is something the entire congregation can do and can do together. We still have prayer meeting, we pray together for missionaries, the church has a prayer group, and widows have a prayer list of wayward and lost children in our families. I noticed that our VBS workers this year are also on the group prayer list. Prayer connects the members to the ministries of the local church.
Eph 3:20-21 God is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask… unto him be glory in the church”. Ye have not, because ye ask not, Jas 4:2. Our work together becomes much more effectual with prayer. In praying together we join the great work of intercession, 1 Tim 2:1, being done by the Holy Spirit, Rom 8:26, and Jesus Christ, Rom 8:34, Heb 7:25.
Prayer in your fight with the devil, Eph 6:10-19. A pastor called recently for prayer. I prayed daily for him. When we talked three weeks later I asked how he was doing. He replied, “Our adversary is real”. We have the impression that we can handle things as Bible Believers. And we cry out to God only when we are overwhelmed. The devil knows this pride in us. Knowledge puffeth up. We must beware of the “the wiles of the devil”. Dr Ruckman used to say, “Prayer is your first necessity, not your last extremity”.
Prayer in your fellowship with Jesus, Ps 5:1-8. Heb 4:16. Dr Ruckman used to say, “The hardest thing you will have to do in the ministry is maintain your personal fellowship with Jesus”. In pastoring you become administrative, organized, routine, program oriented, protective, exhausted, wounded, etc. In all of this it’s easy to neglect your time with the Lord. You end up giving him the leftovers.
In prayer you have personal fellowship with Jesus, which will keep you satisfied and will keep the pleasures of Jesus alive.
In prayer you can sort yourself out. You can pray Ps 139:23-24, Search me. You can pray Ps 51:10, Cleanse me. You can confess and be clean according to 1 Jn 1:9.
In prayer you can get direction. Alvin York prayed for 36 hours to reconcile the Bible verses on whether he should remain a conscientious objector. Former Vice President Mike Pence prayed over every decision regarding his political career before deciding. Through prayer, the word becomes a lamp to your feet. Ps 119:18, Open my eyes. Jas 1:5, Give me wisdom. Ps 5:8, Lead me. Our wives, children, and church must know that we are following the Lord.
Conclusion: When you are continually dealing with the ministry, your work in your local church, and the attacks of the devil, you constantly need Jesus. Prayer is the common element in each of these that is often neglected, yet absolutely essential. You could probably double the amount of time you spend in prayer and still find that you could use more prayer. What a Friend We Have in Jesus.