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Pray For Your Spiritual Leaders

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. (NIVUK)

The apostle Paul was not too proud to ask believers to pray for him and his team. You might think that they were so filled with the Spirit, that they did not need any further help from Him. Wrong! Without God being at work, their ministry could have no effect. They knew they were totally dependent on Him, and that He answers prayer. They wanted to be effective, for Jesus' sake, in their appointed ministry of bringing the gospel to the world. But it was a 'family business'; God would work as they worked, and other believers laboured with them by praying (Colossians 4:3).

Paul and his team could not preach the gospel everywhere; the world is too large. So they went to strategic centres of trade, places where many people passed through, to plant churches. That was because the gospel spreads fastest where more people are moving, interacting and making relationships. As churches were planted, believers were taught how to live and share the message of salvation. Then, more new believers were discipled so that they could teach others (2 Timothy 2:2). In that way the gospel, believers and churches would multiply. There was also an urgency. The apostles were rightly expecting the Lord Jesus to return at any moment to find many more people trusting in Him (Luke 18:8). For all this, Paul's team needed the partnership of others to pray as they spread the Word (Ephesians 6:19)

But gospel proclamation is often resisted. The truth shines as light in a dark world, exposing all that is not from God (John 3:19). It denies power to Satan, who fights back through people who embrace his Godless world view. Some become overtly wicked: most of the apostles died an early violent death. Others expressed evil more subtly, excluding believers from opportunity or influence, obstructing their trade, denying them freedom of speech. Others were apparently passive; failing to relate when they should, withdrawing from family bonds, and disowning family responsibilities. For all that, the apostles and the churches needed other believers to pray for their protection.

Please pray for your spiritual leaders. The pressures they face are enormous: from believers who do not honour the Lord to unbelievers who Satan uses to prevent the Word spreading. There is never enough time or money or people or resources; but the Lord allows it to be like that so that we should depend on Him (2 Corinthians 12:9), with the support of praying friends. We do not know how it is that God works when we pray, but we know He does. If we could do it all, in our own strength, we would be tempted to claim the power and glory as our own. Even leaders are tempted that way. So, pray for them that they will be protected and their ministry will be effective, because the Lord is at work.

Sovereign God. Thank You for Your limitless power and that You act powerfully when Your people pray. Forgive me for failing to pray for my spiritual leaders, or for thinking I can serve You without You being at work. Please help me to honour You and Your servants by praying that Your will be done on earth as in heaven. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams