What if?-Pondering Out Loud

What if we gave ourselves fully to prayer? (Image courtesy of pixabay.com)

What if we gave ourselves fully to prayer and to preaching? (Image courtesy of pixabay.com)

No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray- ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere” (Leonard Ravenhill).

“Shall I give you yet another reason why you should pray? I have preached my very heart out. I could not say any more than I have said. Will not your prayers accomplish that which my preaching fails to do? Is it not likely that the Church has been putting forth its preaching hand but not its praying hand? Oh dear friends! Let us agonize in prayer” (Charles Spurgeon).

Sermons, history shows, can be among the most revolutionary forms of human speech. From John Calvin to Billy Graham, preaching has had the power to topple princes, to set nation against nation, to inspire campaigners to change the world and impel people to begin life anew” (Ruth Gledhill).

“2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’” (Acts 6:2-4)

Preaching and prayer are twin towers that go together, and one cannot and should not, exist without the other. What if a church actually allowed the minister to be a spiritual leader, pointing others to God, rather than a CEO-type of leader overseeing organizational systems and structures?  What if a pastor gave himself fully to preaching and prayer alone? What if the pastor laid down being an “events coordinator,” and a chaplain (to a certain degree), and a chief administrator, and focused solely on preaching the Word of God and praying?  Visiting people and going to hospitals is an important ministry that need not be utterly neglected, but I am simply wondering, out loud (and publicly!), what if a preacher gave the bulk (or all!) of his time to only preaching and teaching the Word of God to his congregation and to prayer?  Certainly, there are administrative tasks that need to be handled, but what if a church fully believed, to the greatest extent possible, in practice, that preaching was the single most important job that a pastor did, alongside prayer, and then held him to it? What if a church believed the idea that preaching and prayer were so important that they decided to take up all the other tasks a pastor does so that he could be free to focus on the Lord in prayer and to focus on the preaching ministry alone?

What if the ministers of churches made a deal with their churches that for the next month they would focus only on preaching the Word and to prayer, while all other ministry tasks were left to other ministry leaders? No administrative tasks, no visits, no hospitals, and no paperwork to deal with, but laser-focus on preaching and prayer alone. Would our churches be spiritually healthier as a result? Would the congregation, and the minister, come to realize the great importance of preaching and prayer at that point? Would we actually begin to see spiritual growth at that point in the lives of our people, and within ourselves?  Could the fact that preachers get bogged down by all these other tasks be hindering the spiritual growth within their congregations?  Certainly, the pastoral side of ministry need not be completely neglected, but what if a more concerted effort were given to just preaching and prayer? Would it bring our dead hearts back to life, individually for the ministers, and corporately in the church? Would we begin to see the revival that we so long for? Would we begin to see the spiritual hunger that we once had, return like the strength of a typhoon? Would the church begin to shine brighter for Christ as a result of our focus on preaching and prayer? Would we begin to see those that have been bound by addictions for many years, sometimes secretly, set free from these items due to a sole focus on prayer and preaching?  What if!? What if!? Dream! Imagine!

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  1. What are your thoughts on your pastor giving himself fully, and solely, to preaching and to prayer?

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