In my preparation for my final message in 1 Thessalonians I have been struck by what the Apostle Paul tells his Thessalonian friends in 5:25,
“Brethren, Pray for us.”
It is amazing that Paul was diligent to pray for them and did so at least three times (1:2, 3:10-12, 5:23) in this letter, but now he appeals to them to uphold him in prayer. He was their founder, their mentor, their leader. He was the mature on of the bunch and yet, he is calling on them to pray for him (and Timothy and Silvanus).
So, it got me thinking how much I need the prayers of my church family. Of course I knew that to be true, but sometimes God has to hit you on the head to show you the reality of what is obvious…and so, my friend, I ask that you consider the words of the following two men and put them into practice:
Let the minister have a place in your heart. Mention his name at your family altar, and in your prayer closet. You expect him to come before you day after day, to teach you the things of the kingdom, and exhort and stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance. If he be a true minister, there will be work to be done in this matter. He cannot write his sermon and read it to you; he does not believe Christ said, “Go and read the gospel to every creature.”
Do you know the cares of a minister? Do you know the trouble he has with his own church-how the erring ones do grieve him, how even the righteous ones do vex his spirit by their infirmities-how there will always be some great trouble in the hearts of some of his people? And he is the reservoir of all: they come to him with all their grief; he is to “weep with them that weep.”
And in the pulpit what is his work? God is my witness, I scarcely ever prepare for my pulpit with pleasure: study for the pulpit is to me the most irksome work in the world. I have never come into this house that I know of with a smile upon mine heart; I may have sometimes gone out with one; but never have I had one when I entered. Preach, preach, twice a day I can and will do, but still there is a travailing in preparation for it, and even the utterance is not always accompanied with joy and gladness, and God knows that if it were not for the good that we trust is to be accomplished by the preaching of the Word, it is no happiness to a man’s life to be well known.
It robs him of all comfort to be from morning to night pressed for labor, to have no rest for the sole of his foot or for his brain-to bear every burden-to have people asking, as they do in the country, when they want to get into a cart, “Will the cart hold the weight?” -never thinking whether the horse can drag it; to have them asking, “Will you preach at such a place? you are preaching twice, couldn’t you manage to get to such a place, and preach again?” Every one else has a limit; the minister has none, until he kills himself and is condemned as imprudent. If you are determined to do your duty in that place to which God has called you, you need the prayers of your people, that you may be able to do the work, and you will need their abundant prayers that you may be sustained in it.
I bless God that I have a valiant corps of men, who day without night besiege God’s throne on my behalf. I would speak to you, my brethren and sisters, again, and beseech you, by our loving days that are past, by all the hard fighting that we have had side by side with each other, not to cease to pray now. The time was when in hours of trouble, you and I have bended our knees together in God’s house and we have prayed to God that he would give us a blessing. You remember how great and sore troubles did roll over our head-how men did ride over us. We went through fire and through water, and now let us not cease to pray. Let us still cry out unto the living God, that he may give us a blessing.
Oh! may God help me, if you cease to pray for me! Let me know the day when you cease your prayers, and I must cease to preach. Let me know when you intend to cease your prayers, and I shall cry, “O my God, give me this day my tomb, and let me slumber in the dust.”
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1870
And then from another…
Brethren, pray for us, that we may be kept from sin; that we may walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time [Eph. 5:16]; that our hearts may be more devoted to God, and our lives a more impressive example of the Gospel we preach: that we may be more completely furnished for our work and our conflicts, and put on the whole armor of God [6:10-17]; that we may be more faithful and wise to win souls, and that we may discipline our body, and bring it into subjection, lest having preached to others, we ourselves be cast away [1 Cor. 9:27].
In “A Plea to Pray for Pastors” by Gardiner Spring
Add to that something that I pray for myself often…
“Lord, help me to be a faithful expositor of God’s Word that also smells like sheep.”
I am convinced of God’s calling on my life, but I am also convinced of God’s calling on yours to pray for your pastor in the ways mentioned. Your ministry before God on my behalf is always appreciated as I am helpless to think and act without the Help of my Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.