Partners in Prayer For The Preacher

Praying for the Pastor

We’ve been looking, in recent posts, at the presentation of the sermon, including gestures, vocal variations, and speaking rate.  The subject after this one will be the various types of sermons that can be preached, but before we do that, I want to look at the power of partners in prayer for the preacher.   I’ve talked before, in the series of posts on preparing to preach, on the need to personally pray as you prepare for messages.  But the Bible makes it clear that the prayers of others are important as well.  So let’s look at what it means to have partners in prayer for the preacher of sermons.

The Importance of Prayer Partners

John Maxwell, author and speaker

John Maxwell

One of the people who has helped me understand and apply this is John Maxwell, pastor, author, speaker, and leader of The Maxwell Team of church consultants.  When he was pastor at the Skyline Weslyan Church in the San Diego area, he made a point of having a group of men regularly praying for him as he went about the work of ministry.  Their presence was especially important on Sunday morning as the prayer partners would lay their hands on him and pray for him before he presented the Word, that God would speak through him.  He spoke and wrote about the key role that these men played in the success of his ministry.  He knows that partners in prayer for the preacher can make a huge difference in effectiveness.

If you want to explore this topic with him more fully, here’s a 44 minute video in which he calls the prayer partners his MVP.

Paul Asks The Roman Church for Prayer

Let’s look at where we find this idea of prayer partners in the Bible.  Look with me at Romans 15:30-32.  This is how it reads in the NIV:

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.  Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that he contribution I take to Jerusalem will be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that i may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.”

He knew that partners in prayer for the preacher could make the difference in his ministry.

What Difference Do Prayer Partners Make?

There are several things to notice in this passage.  First, let’s look at the context.  Paul is on his way to Jerusalem to deliver a financial gift from Grecian believers to Jewish believers.  He has likely heard some rumors about his anticipated arrival there.  Unbelievers were making threats about him, and Jewish believers weren’t ready to receive him.

In that context, he says, “…join me in my struggle….”  Older translations put it this way: “…strive together with me…”   In the Greek the word  is sunagonidzomai.  Sun is a prefix that means “with” in English.  Agonidzomai  means that Paul was under intense agony–notice the word “agony” in the Greek.   Paul recognized that he was engaged in a great battle with the enemy.  He didn’t want to face this enemy alone, so he called people to pray.

What does this have to do with preachers?  When we proclaim the Word, know that the enemy is listening.  The Apostle specifically asked for people to join with him in the struggle by praying.  He knew that the battle was real, and so he gathered people into the battle with him.

Paul asks the Colossians to Pray

As a preacher, Paul makes a similar request of the Colossians.  He asked people to pray, “That God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains.”  (Colossians 4:3).  Corporate prayer is powerful.  If Paul needed people to pray for him, don’t you?

Thom Rainer, church consultant here in the US, reflects on the reasons you need prayer in this brief video.

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