Yesterday I preached 1 John 5:13-15 in John’s epistle in our “Know” series. After looking intently at verse 13 last week, we moved on to the next two verses and examined what John said about prayer as a Christian. If John’s agenda is to bring true believers to a place of concrete assurance and faith in Christ, he demonstrated his desire for the Christian to pray with confidence as well.
John, along with the pattern of the early church, was a man of prayer. We see Peter and John going up into the temple at the very hour of prayer in Acts 3. Certainly he understood the priority and privilege of prayer, and he desired for his fellow Christians in various cities to be people of prayer as well. Knowledge that is separated from prayer and communion with God becomes nothing more than cold and lifeless doctrine.
John desired for the Christians to know that God hears the prayers of His people. John urged the Christian community to pray with confidence. The language of “toward him” in verse 14 paints a picture of a face-to-face conversation. John is picturing prayer as a face-to-face conversation with God and what a joy it is to have this privilege as a Christian. John understood the privilege and desired for others to enjoy it as well.
While God hears the prayers of all people, there is a difference between merely hearing and hearing with a desire to care for and answer the prayers of His own people. If a group of children are calling out to a man for a favor, he may hear all of them, but he will pay close attention to the voice of his own son the group of children. God cares for His own children in a unique way. As we explore the Word of God, we see a clear pattern of prayer demonstrated from Jesus to the early church.
- Jesus prayed at His baptism in Luke 3:21.
- Jesus sought to be alone in prayer, but was often interrupted.
- Jesus would rise early in the morning for prayer as we see in Mark 1:35.
- Jesus would pray all night at times as we see in Luke 6:12.
- Jesus prayed for His people – John 17.
The Apostles Prayed
- Paul prayed for the church and for the church’s witness – praising God for it in Romans 1.
- Paul urged the Christians in Rome to be faithful in prayer – Romans 12:12.
- Paul urged the church at Rome to pray for him – Romans 15.
- Apostles prayed together in the upper room as they waited on the Holy Spirit to come – Acts 2.
- Peter and John were seen going into the temple at the hour of prayer – Acts 3.
- Peter prayed on a housetop in Acts 10:9.
- Paul and Silas prayed in prison – Acts 16:25.
- The apostles gave themselves to the Word of God and prayer as the deacons took charge of the practical needs of the church in Acts 6.
The Church Prayed
The early church is pictured in Acts 2:42 as gathered for the purpose of hearing the apostles’ teaching, engaging in fellowship, and praying together.
The Bible closes with a prayer of the church:
Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
God not only hears the prayers of His people, but He answers them in accordance with His will. John provides us the condition of prayer followed by the limitation of prayer. First, the condition of prayer is clearly revealed at the end of verse 14 as the “will of God.” We can’t pray code word language and expect that God will be bound by our words to give us the desires of our greed-filled hearts. We must learn to bend our will into conformity to God’s will. When we pray rightly, we don’t approach prayer out of superstition. We must learn to approach God in a way that far supersedes a rabbit’s foot. Christians pray in confidence that God hears and has the power to answer the prayer so long as we pray in accordance with God’s will.
The limitation of prayer is directly connected to the limitation of God. Our God is sovereign and big. He is strong and mighty. There is nothing too big for God, and we must learn to approach God with big weighty prayers that go well beyond the superficial weak prayers that we often pray. God can heal disease. God can provide jobs for the needy. The same God who never sleeps nor slumbers and the same God who controls the wind and the waves is the God who provides for His own people. Just as Jesus taught in Matthew 6:33, we must seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of the provisions for God’s people will be met. Jerry Bridges once said:
Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God. If God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers. Our prayers would become nothing more than wishes. But while God’s sovereignty, along with His wisdom and love, is the foundation of our trust in Him, prayer is the expression of trust.
There are many people throughout church history who provide us with helpful examples of what it means to live by faith. One of those men stands head and shoulders above many—and his name is George Muller. Known in his town of Bristol, England as Muller, he was known as a father to the many orphans he labored to care for and educate.
If you want to learn more about George Muller, you can take a look at the article I wrote after visiting Bristol, England back in 2015. While George Muller provided a great example to follow—especially in the area of prayer. Muller once said, “My chief help is prayer.” Should we bind fellow Christians to his convictions when it comes to living by faith and refusing to ask people directly for financial help?
George Muller’s Rock Solid Faith
After his conversion, George Muller had an insatiable desire to serve God and to not waste his life. In November of 1825, when Muller was 20 years old, he was invited to a Bible study that would change his life. Following his conversion, he would grow to embrace the sovereignty of God over all things—including the salvation of rebel sinners. When people like to use Calvinism as some anti-missions doctrinal position, they often overlook George Muller and his ministry when they flip through history for proof of their beliefs.
During George Muller’s day, there was a severe problem with orphans in all of England. Bristol was overrun with abandoned children and the lifestyle of such children produced rebels who not only became rogues toward the civil law, but intensified their rebellion toward God. Muller prayed for a solution and felt that he should put his faith into action. He was a man of prayer and he prayed for God to provide land, and God provided the land. He then prayed for God to provide the houses, and God provided the houses for the orphans. This was the beginning of a ministry that would change Bristol and impact the world.
The first orphan entered Muller’s care on 11th of April 1836. The first entry into their log books was Charlotte Hill.  Over the course of Muller’s ministry, he would care for over 10,000 orphans and through his ministry beyond his death, 17,000 orphans in total would be ministered to as Muller’s ministry continued after he was gone. Muller was known as a man of prayer. One famous story about Muller’s faith is taken from a specific time when the orphans were out of food:
“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.” Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children. 
Notice that when he was told that there was no food for the orphans, he ordered them to be seated and then he prayed and thanked God for the food and waited on God. Soon the food and milk came. This was one of the convictions of Muller. He refused to ask people directly for his needs. He would often pray and ask God to send the supplies, the help, the money, and the food. Through the years, people have embraced this approach as the Muller principle of prayer. Today, many people look to Muller as the prime biblical example of what it means to live by faith and they refuse to ask others for help. Is it sinful to make your needs known?
Stop Condemning People for Disagreeing with Muller
Today, many years after George Muller’s death, the Trust in his name continues to maintain the same principle of prayer as the only means whereby they will ask for money. While we can look to George Muller and be grateful for his strong faith, it would be unwise to demean another fellow Christian for making his or her needs known. While we can look to a wonderful example of faith in the life of George Muller, we can likewise find examples in the Bible where people made their needs known openly and publicly.
The Pattern of the Early Church
The early church is often held up as an example of the local church in the purist sense of biblical community. According to Acts 2:44-45, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” How were the individual members of the early church providing for one another’s needs if they didn’t make it known among the church? It seems clearly evident that they were making their needs known.
The Needs of the Jerusalem Church
The church in Jerusalem has gone through a difficult time and experienced financial burdens. Paul, an apostle to the Gentiles, who was sent out by the church at Antioch, traveled around and made the need known to the Gentile believers (1 Cor. 16:1-4). In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, we see that Paul is mentioning the believers in Macedonia as relevant examples of faith as he urges the church at Corinth to live in like manner.
The early church in Acts and Paul’s ministry that would come a bit later are examples of Christians working together to meet the needs that had been made known. There is nothing wrong with making known a need and asking for assistance in operating a ministry for the glory of God. An organization or an individual Christian may adopt the Muller principle by turning to prayer alone to trust God for their needs. However, if a Christian family in your church or a Christian organization beyond the borders of your church makes a need known and respectfully asks for help—don’t question their faith.
One thing we can all learn from George Muller and from the biblical examples is that they refused to make the church community look like a bunch of hucksters who were trying to scam their communities. Not everyone who asks for help is on the same level as a Kenneth Copeland and we should guard the people of the gospel from appearing like religious scam artists when we make our needs known.
- Roger Steer, George Muller – Delighted in God (Christian Focus Publications, Denmark, 2012), 65
- “George Mueller, Orphanages Built by Prayer”
Early yesterday morning, I awoke to the news of a tragic shooting that took place in Las Vegas. While the full details of this tragedy are still being gathered at this time, what we do know is that this shooting at a music festival on Sunday night will go down as the most deadly shooting in American history—surpassing the Orlando club shooting in 2016 that took the lives of 49.
When tragedies strike, it’s far too common to witness people expressing their concern on social media by sending “positive thoughts” to hurting people. While it’s commendable for people to desire to help or to seek to encourage a fellow human being, it’s important to realize that positive thoughts are empty words that have zero benefit to anyone. It would be better to pray. If you’re not a Christian, it would be better to intentionally encourage a fellow human being with real words that have real meaning as opposed to sending positive thoughts in the direction of a person in need.
The Truth About Positive Thinking
The whole notion of positive thinking is derived from a combination of mysticism and psychology. The idea is that a person is capable of tapping into the inner being of a human’s brain and release positive vibes that will change the person’s feelings about their condition and increase self worth. According to the EOC Institute:
In basic terms, the law of attraction states that your thoughts & belief systems send certain “vibrations” out to the cosmos. In turn, the universe responds by giving you a kind of customized made-to-order set of experiences which directly validate said thoughts and beliefs.
Since our “thoughts become things” — then we are ultimately the creators of the life circumstances we now find ourselves.
Today, we see people who have bought into this idea and now believe it’s possible to change someone else’s feelings, emotions, and circumstances by sending those same positive vibes across geographic territory to the specific person they’re focusing on. It has become very common to see people who say things such as, “Sending positive thoughts your way” in the comment threads of social media outlets. Once again, this is not a new phenomenon. We see such teaching from Norman Vincent Peale who popularized his teaching in a work titled, The Power of Positive Thinking. According to Norman Vincent Peale, “The person who sends out the most positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.”
The longing for happiness is an age-old pursuit of the human soul. The desire to feel supported by a community such as your family or a network of friends is as ancient as human civilization—dating back to the Garden of Eden. People want to feel connected and supported—especially in times of need. It doesn’t matter if you call it positive thoughts, vibes, or energy—all such attempts to change people’s circumstances through such efforts will be like clouds without water and empty wells.
What People Really Need in Times of Difficulty
In James, we find a sobering warning about the idea of positive thoughts in the midst of a time of need. James refers to such talk as dead faith. James writes:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:14-17).
Jesus provided us with hopeful words regarding the power of prayer. In his famous sermon on the mount, Jesus said these words to his followers:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:9-13).
According to Jesus, our heavenly Father is capable of hearing the prayers of people and responding in accordance with his sovereign will. Everything from daily bread to deliverance from evil—God reigns and is supreme. Our God rules from heaven’s throne and is capable of caring for the needs of his people and delivering them from perils of this fallen world. We are never commanded to send positive thoughts or energy to another person. Instead, we are called to pray to our God who hears and answers the cries of his people.
Hurting people need God. Hurting people need to hear the prayers of God’s people. Hurting people need to see the people of God praying and working to aid those who are in need. No amount of positive thinking, positive energy sending, or any other mystical trend will bring comfort to hurting people. When Jesus’ followers beseech the throne of glory on behalf of hurting people—God hears and God responds.
Please don’t send positive energy or positive thoughts to Las Vegas. The god of positive energy is dead (Ps. 115:4-8). The one true and living God who has revealed himself in the pages of Scripture is alive. He rules and reigns. He will accomplish his will (Ps. 115:2-3). We can expect the unbelieving world to attempt to beam positive vibes to other people and we can expect to hear them repeat empty phrases. However, the Church of Jesus Christ is called to pray and then serve out of a heart of love. The next time you hear of a human tragedy or you scroll through your social media newsfeed and see a friend who is hurting—pray.
According to popular teachings that are promulgated from charismatic television networks and radio stations, if you have a robust faith and confidence in God—he will definitely hear your prayer and answer it as you’ve directed him. Benny Hinn once stated, “The day is coming when there will not be one sick saint in the body of Christ.” Benny Hinn wasn’t referencing Revelation 21 in his statement.
As we consider these teachings, we must look to the unanswered prayers of the apostle Paul as a fitting test. In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, the apostle Paul talks about his “messenger of Satan” that was sent to harass him. Was Paul being punished for his lack of faith in God? Was Paul’s life full of sin that was causing him to receive a blow from Satan? What exactly can we learn from Paul’s unanswered prayers?
God’s Plan May Not Align With Our Requests
One of the things we learn in our time of prayer is that a foundational goal of prayer is to align our will with God’s will. This is not always easy. Sometimes this means that we submit to different plans, different goals, different agendas that might involve discomfort, distance from friends and family, and pain.
When Jesus taught us to pray in the model prayer (Matt. 6:5-13), we see Jesus saying, “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In other words, life is not about us nearly as much as it’s about God. The plans we have for ourselves must be yielded to the plans that God has for us. When they’re different, we must go with God and die to self.
Suffering is not Proof of Sin
In our day, one of the most pernicious teachings comes from the Charismatic Movement—more specifically the “Word of Faith” movement. Within this movement, a popular teaching has been popularized stating that it is the absolute will of God for all of God’s children to be healthy and wealthy. As we test the foundation of that teaching, we find that it does not hold up to the scrutiny of God’s Word.
Was Paul living in sin that caused him to learn to live with the “thorn” in his flesh? No. As we read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, we see that Paul was given the thorn by God, not because of his sin, but in order to prevent him from sin. There is a clear difference in the two. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul writes, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”
When the disciples inquired about the man born blind in John 9, they asked a vitally important question. They said, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind” (John 9:2)? Jesus’ response is key to unlocking this puzzling story and it shines light of truth on our day as well. Jesus said, “Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). The same thing was true in Paul’s life. It could be the same situation you face in your life too.
Suffering is not a Sign of a Deficient Faith
As we read and study the life and ministry of the apostle Paul, it is clear that he stands out among the apostles. He is believed to be the greatest Christian to live in the history of humanity—outside of Jesus himself in the flesh. There is no question about Paul’s faith—and it was made more apparent as he suffered death in Rome by beheadding.
Yet, we see that Paul’s prayer for healing was not answered. According to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, he asked God on three different times to remove his “thorn” in the flesh, but God refused.
As we read and consider these facts about the unanswered prayers of Paul, what exactly can we learn? Consider the following lessons we can learn.
- It is God’s will for his children to suffer in specific ways that were charted out before the foundation of the world.
- God has chosen specific people to suffer in lesser or greater ways for his glory.
- Suffering is not a sign of sin or weak faith. Paul didn’t suffer from any of those problems—yet he suffered immensely.
- God uses suffering to prevent people from sinning as they otherwise would (as Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 12).
- God uses suffering to spread the gospel far and wide.
Before you buy into the lies of the Charismatic Movement, take time to consider the fact that perhaps the greatest Christian to ever live endured through a life of constant suffering, imprisonment, and it all ended with him being beheaded. Are we to believe the likes of Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen or Jesus and the apostle Paul? Consider the words of John Newton, “Can we wish, if it were possible, to walk in a path strewed with flowers when His was strewed with thorns?” 
- John Newton, The Works of John Newton, v. 1, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1985), 230.
One of the most comforting passages in the Bible is found in Romans 10:9-10 and Romans 10:13 where we see a clear promise to all who call upon the name of the Lord of salvation. This should bring comfort to us each time we read over this section of Scripture. We hear preachers stand and call people to respond to God claiming that God will never turn anyone away. Is that true at all times and in all situation? Is there ever a time when a sinner cannot be saved? Certainly we can all agree that after death, such a time exists. However, what about during the lifetime of a particular person, is there a time when he or she cannot be saved?
God Saves Sinners
In Acts 9, we see the story of Saul of Tarsus and how God humbled the learned Pharisee and brought him to a place of submission. If God can save a Saul of Tarsus (whose names was eventually changed to Paul), anyone can be saved. In fact, the story of the apostle Paul’s conversion should bring us hope that nobody in our family or on the school campus is beyond the saving reach of God. God is capable of saving the vilest offender. In fact, God loves to save sinners.
As we read about the city of Nineveh, we often focus on the story of the disobedient Jonah and his time in the belly of a large fish while completely missing the reality of God’s saving grace for a wicked people. When you study about the deep depravity of the people of Nineveh, it should cause our hearts to swell with joy as we see God save them. They didn’t deserve mercy and grace, but God acted through his grace unconditionally and delivered them from their condition of peril. In short, God loves to save sinners.
God Does Not Always Save Sinners
As we think about the work of God in saving sinners, is there ever a time when God refuses to save someone who requests salvation? Would God ever turn anyone down who called upon his name? Although greatly controversial, it’s true that God doesn’t always save everyone who calls on his name. In Psalm 18, we find the testimony of King David and how God spared him when he was on the run from Saul and his men. Notice what David says in Psalm 18:39-42:
For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them. I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
In this particular case, it’s clear that God was saving David—not his enemies. When the enemies of God surrounded David, he was spared by God’s plan which involved the destruction of his enemies. It could be that their prayer was insincere and selfish in order to manipulate God and avoid defeat. God knows the heats of men and cannot be fooled. We have here a clear example of people crying out to the LORD and he refused to answer them.
In another place in the Old Testament, we find in Micah 3 where those who were opposed to God’s people cried out and he chose not to answer their request for salvation. We see this in Micah 3:4:
Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil.
It could be once again that their prayers were insincere and selfishly motivated, but yet again, we find that God refused to answer them and went on to hide his face from them. Although we can say with certainty that God loves to save sinners and even the most vile person can be saved, we must also recognize that God is not obligated to save anyone. Furthermore, we must realize that God is not unrighteous by not saving everyone. God chooses to save sinners unconditionally and acts in mercy to save those who do not deserve it. That includes all of God’s children.
We find other passages in the Old Testament such as Jeremiah 11:11-14 and Ezekiel 8:15-18 where God says, “Therefore, thus says the LORD, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them” (Jer. 11:11). Be sure these are difficult passages indeed, but the difficulty of God’s holy justice and his choice to judge sinners is not removed by the sweetness of his mercy and grace on others. God’s choice to save sinners and God’s choice to judge sinners must never be held up in contradiction to one another (Rom. 9:20-24).
We must never approach God as if he’s merely a genie who offers up grace like a magic potion to overcome our sin. Nor should we approach God as if he’s simply at our disposal like a glorified cosmic bellhop. God is sovereign. God is good. God always does right. God is right to save sinners and to satisfy his justice through the death of his Son Jesus, and he is likewise right to deny salvation to sinners.
If you are a Christian today, this should cause your heart to swell with renewed gratitude. If you are not a Christian and know that you need God’s grace and mercy to rid you of your sin and to reconcile you to God—you should turn to him today and plead for salvation. God loves to save sinners. With a sincere heart, cast yourself upon his mercy trusting that Christ Jesus is your only hope in this life and for all eternity.
Over the past eleven weeks, our church has been studying through D.A. Carson’s book—
If Paul Needed Prayer—So Does Your Pastor
At the end of a powerful letter by the apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus and the surrounding cities, Paul calls upon the church to pray for him. Interestingly enough, the towering theological giant of the New Testament requested prayer for his words. Paul writes, “and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19). Paul was asking for the Christian community to pray for his words, so that he would have clarity of speech and bold speech when he was given opportunity to proclaim the gospel.
Over the years, I have talked with many people at conferences and different friends who have complained about their pastor’s sermons. As I was recently preaching through Ephesians, I came across Ephesians 6:19 and it made me consider the importance of praying for the pastor as he prepares to preach each week. Words matter. Clarity of speech is crucial in preaching. Boldness is a necessity for a gospel preacher. Prayer is central to the pastor’s ability to preach with power and without ambiguity.
Your Pastor Is Not Superhuman
Has it ever dawned upon you that your pastor is not superhuman? Often pastors are called to work 50-70 hours per week, and many of those hours are off-peak hours—working to accommodate the schedules and needs of the people within the church. Every person in the church should recognize the fact that their pastors are flesh and bone—real humans who need strength from the Holy Spirit to labor in the work of ministry. Paul came to the end of 1 Thessalonians and said, “Brothers, pray for us” (1 Thess. 5:25).
Many churches are served by bi-vocational pastors who are pulling many hours for their “9-5 job” and then many more hours in their study, prayer, and service of their local church. The work of a pastor is never finished. The work is often filled with discouragement, death, disease, and rare victories along the way. In short, the work of pastoral ministry is hard, and that’s why so many pastors quit along the journey. Don’t forget that your pastor is human. He needs your prayers.
Beyond the workload of a pastor is the need for his sanctification. How many parents desire their children to grow and mature physically? How many people expect to grow in the knowledge and skill of their occupation professionally? How many Christians expect to grow in their faith through the years? Why then do we expect our pastors to be superhero Christians who never grow and develop doctrinally? Shouldn’t the older Paul be more mature in his faith than the younger Paul? You should desire for your pastor to be growing spiritually and it would be wise for you to be praying for him in this process.
Your Pastor Is Watching for Your Soul
Have you ever heard someone ask their anesthesiologist if he slept well the night before their surgery? It’s a common question that you hear patients jokingly ask their doctor. Why, you ask? Because everyone wants a doctor who is alert and not distracted by mental fatigue. When it comes to your pastors, the ones charged with watching for your soul, you want a man who is alert and not suffering from distractions. In short, your pastors need prayer.
Immediately after explaining to the Hebrew believers that they should submit to their leaders who watch over their soul by obeying them, the writer to the Hebrews says, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things” (Heb. 13:18). Prayer is essential to the work of a pastor, and a church that doesn’t spend time praying for her pastors doesn’t understand that prayer and ministry are inseparably linked together.
Your Pastor Is Hated by the Devil
If your pastors are men who stand firm upon the Word of God and preach the gospel faithfully—they are not loved by the devil. In 1 Thessalonians 2:18, Paul writes the following, “because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.” It should be no secret that the devil hates the pastors who oversee and care for your local church. The plans, dreams, goals, sermons, prayers, and ambition of your pastors are often hindered by the work of spiritual warfare.
Jesus once said the following to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). Do you recall the desire of Satan to test the sincerity of Job’s faith (Job 1)? The demonic beings, real and powerful, stand opposed to the work of your pastors on a daily basis. Have you spent time praying for your pastors? How would you feel if you discovered that your pastors weren’t praying for you? Would you feel neglected? Would you feel vulnerable? Why then, would you neglect praying for your pastors—the very ones given the charge of caring for you, leading you, feeding you, and watching over your soul?
Do you want your church to grow? Do you want to see souls saved in the community? Do you want to see your pastor’s sermons become more rich and clearly proclaimed? Do you want to see your church become more healthy and vibrant? All of this begins in prayer, and specifically, by praying for your pastors—those entrusted with leading the church forward. Alistair Begg writes:
Prayer is an acknowledgment that our need of God’s help is not partial but total… Yet many of our church prayer meetings have dwindled in size and influence. Ultimately, the explanation can be traced to spiritual warfare. If, as the hymn writer says, Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees,” then we may be sure that he and his minions will be working hard to discredit the value of united prayer. The Evil One has scored a great victory in getting sincere believers to waver in their conviction that prayer is necessary and powerful. 
- Alistair Begg, Made For His Pleasure, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996), 52.