Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Prayer for Preachers

“Crucified preaching can only come from a crucified man." -E.M. Bounds

We live in a day in which our model for preaching and pastoral ministry is being pulled in numerous different directions by competing voices in the world of “professional ministry.” All of these cries for more faithful ministry are indeed needed. Yet, the flood of answers to the problems we face in ministry can become overwhelming and discouraging. What we see little of, in the midst of all these calls for reform in the church, is the cry to return the pulpit to the central place of ministry for the pastor. Perhaps the weightiest exhortation given to a pastor in the Bible is Paul’s command to Timothy. Listen to how the apostle Paul closed his final letter to his son in the faith, Timothy:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Paul grounds his charge to preach the word in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, in Christ as the judge of all men, and in the appearing and kingdom of Christ. Can there be a loftier basis for an exhortation? It is this central privilege of the pastor to be a herald of God’s word that is so often minimized and overlooked. It is this glorious burden of preaching which can seem crushing and discouraging. It is faithfulness to this sacred charge where pastors most need continual encouragement, instruction, and prayer.

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Steve said...
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