Summary: An appeal for the church to pray for their pastor.
Pray For Me
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 30, 2007
“It takes prayer in the pulpit and prayer in the pew to make preaching arresting, life-giving, and soul-saving.” Those words were written by E.M. Bounds some 120 years ago in a chapter titled, The Preacher’s Cry: Pray for us! For the past year I have developed a greater conviction than ever before about our need for more prayer, and consequently, our lack of prayer for the things that matter most. As disciples of Christ we must be people of prayer. And today I want to make a simple appeal for you to pray for your preacher. The sermon I will preach today is one I have preached to you before on two other occasions. It is one I will preach again from time to time because I believe it is imperative that I remind you to pray for me. I still feel funny asking you to pray for me, but as I study the Scriptures, I find that the apostle Paul didn’t hesitate to ask people to pray for him. In Romans 15:30 he said,
“Now I beseech you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.”
To the Colossian church he wrote,
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.”
He said to the Thessalonian believers, “Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us.” To the Corinthians he said, “You are helping us by praying for us.” He wrote to others too, but today I want to draw your attention to Ephesians 6:18-20.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel. For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Today that is my cry to you – to pray for me. That you strive together with me in your prayers. That you devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind. That you pray God will give me opportunities to speak about Him. My plea today is for prayer: rich, regular, passionate pleading for the Spirit of God to energize and make fruitful my preaching and ministry. Somebody said that prayer is preparation for the battle. Prayer is not preparation for the battle – prayer is the battle.
There’s great spiritual warfare going on in our church: in your lives and in mine. Our adversary is alive and busy opposing our efforts day and night. He is at work this very moment, working to keep us from being the people, the families and the church God expects us to be. He is at work trying to prevent this message from entering a ready heart, trying to distract and disrupt. He is at work trying to convince us that prayer is not important, that prayer for your pastor is useless – but it’s a lie!
As you study the pages of Scripture and the history of the Lord’s churches through time, one thing is constant in the lives of God’s most effective saints…Prayer! If we are going to be the church God wills for us to be; if we are going to be as effective as we can be, then we must be a church…we must be a people that prays. There are countless people who say prayers, but are they really praying? We must be people of prayer! Think about it – we represent heaven on earth. We oppose Satan and the minions of hell! We labor for the hearts and souls of men – how can we set off without prayer?
In Ephesians 6:18, Paul says, “praying with all prayer and supplication in the spirit.” The word always means “in every situation, at all times.” It would be good to remember Jesus’ statement, “without me you can do nothing.” In every situation we need God, and it is through the vehicle of prayer that we access the person and power of God. It is through prayer and supplication, which simply means to plead with God for your needs.
Watching means to stay alert. It has the idea of vigilance. It means want or lack of sleep. Remember the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane on the night before our Lord was crucified. Matthew 26:38 records that Jesus told Peter, James and John to watch with him. He walked away from them and prayed a while and when we got back he found them asleep and said to them, “What, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray…”