- Created on Monday, 13 February 2017 18:55
by Paul E. Miller
Recently I was discipling a small group of pastors. One highly successful young pastor leaned in and asked me, "'Why don't I pray more?" I said: "You are far too confident in yourself and your abilities."
Can’t most of us relate to this pastor’s struggle? There is nothing more difficult to learn than dependence. And most pastors, in particular, have never been taught the kind of active dependence that produces a praying pastor. There were no courses on prayer at seminary; no older pastor ever mentored them in this area. So they quietly live prayerless lives.
What does a prayerless life look like? I could give so many examples. One way I have of digging into a pastor's life is asking him how he prays about sexual temptation. Usually I get a blank stare. Though most pastors struggle in this area, few pray thoughtfully about that struggle. In other words, in this key battleground area of life, pastors are on their own.
Here's another example. Pastors often struggle with strong-willed (and usually wealthy) men and women. Self-made men who rule in their work often expect the same at church, and they can make a pastor’s life miserable. Most pastors, especially young ones, are either worn down by these men or go into some form of soul freeze. It has never occurred to them to ask God regularly for help with these individuals. They struggle on in their own strength, functionally alone.
But the biggest way prayerlessness impacts pastors is that the job overwhelms them. Considering how difficult the work of ministry is, it is easy to see why! Pastor, you were never meant to carry this burden alone. We want to "give you a hope and a future" by helping you learn to make prayer your central work.
One of the first things we’ll suggest is that you resign (in your heart!) and let the Spirit of Jesus run your congregation. You can’t imagine how freeing this is and how it will sustain you through all the work ahead. We have very specific ways of showing you how to begin to let the Sprit shape the narrative of your congregation.
I believe that you will come away from our pastors' conference with a tremendous burden lifted from your shoulders and a renewed vision for how to do ministry in step with the Spirit (which is inseparable from learning to pray).
Hope to see you there!