Contrary to what some might suppose, ministers of the gospel desperately need the prayers of the saints. One of my seminary professors used to tell the student body, “Pastors have a bull’s eye on their back and footprints up their chest.” This is quite an appropriate description of the hardships that God’s servants are called to endure for the sake of the gospel. The flaming arrows of the evil one are persistently being shot at pastors. In addition, the world is eager to run them over at any opportunity. This is, sadly, also a reality with regard to some in the church.
With so much opposition and difficulty within and without, pastors constantly need the people of God to be praying for them. The shepherd needs the prayers of the sheep as much as they need his prayers. He also is one of Christ’s sheep, and is susceptible to the same weaknesses. While there are many things one could pray for pastors, here are five straightforward Scriptural categories. . . .
I found this article interesting because I had just preached this past week on the responsibilities of shepherding God’s flock and at the end of the message I urged our congregation to pray for their pastors. Here are his five categories but click here to read what he says about each.
1. Pray for their spiritual protection from the world, the flesh and the Devil.
2. Pray for their deliverance from the physical attacks of the world and the Devil.
3. Pray for doors to be opened to them for the spread of the gospel.
4. Pray that they might have boldness and power to preach the gospel.
5. Pray that they might have a spirit of wisdom and understanding.
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This past Sunday I preached on 1 Peter 5:1-4 and how God expects pastors to shepherd the flock of God among them. I spoke of three exhortations Peter gave to those who shepherd the flock of God. The following quote that was shared recently by Jeremy Walker from an old Puritan goes well with the words of Peter to pastors.
The following quote is from Benjamin Wadsworth’s introduction to The Gospel Ministry by Thomas Foxcroft:
“The right performance of this work [of gospel ministry] is attended with many and great difficulties, partly from the various, frequent, furious assaults of Satan; partly from the lusts of men, variously discouraging or opposing it; and partly from the weaknesses and remaining corruptions of even the best of those who engage in it. Yet it is a work that is very honorable in itself, and of vast weight and importance. It must be thought so if we rightly consider that it is the infinitely great, glorious, holy and heart-searching God who (in His providence) calls and commissions men to this work; that the main scope of the work is to batter down Satan’s kingdom, to pull down the strongholds of lust in the hearts of men, to promote the glory of divine grace through Christ in saving men’s precious, immortal souls, one of which is more worth than a world; and that those who engage in this work must give a strict account of their management to that God who employs them, who can’t be deceived and won’t be mocked, and who will require at their hands the blood of those souls who perish through their neglect, as well as graciously and abundantly reward them if they are faithful.”
What fearful and wonderful labour this is! Does the weight of your work press upon you, in the best and right sense? May God spare us from making shipwreck of our own faith, and being mere sirens to call other men on to the rocks of eternal destruction, and may we prove faithful and fruitful in the discharge of all our duties.
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