Wholehearted Service and Prayer
The Apostle Paul describes his attitude to serving God as 'wholehearted' because he had fully accepted the call of God on his life. He did not resent it at all, but was eager to preach the gospel to as many people as possible so that they could find peace with God through Jesus Christ. However, this was not a mechanical religious activity. It was highly relational; he was not just doing a job of communicating a message. Paul loved the people God wanted to reach, and loved serving God.
So Paul kept on praying for them. Because he loved them, he asked the Lord to open up the way for more gospel ministry. Although Paul's job was to explain the gospel, he knew he could not go until the Lord said it was the right time. He was a true servant, waiting for orders; but because of his relationship with God, he was also able to ask his Master for permission to serve more.
Without prayer, 'ministry' becomes 'what I can do for God' rather than working with Him and under His command. Prayerless ministry is a monster: it glorifies our abilities and meets our needs. Working for God, without a passionate love for people and a prayerful desire that He will work in their lives, is a cultish abuse. So if you have been called to serve - pray! Make sure that you are in a right relationship with the Lord and the people before you serve them in His Name. Wait for Him to give the green light and then be obedient and minister in the strength which God provides. Until then, pray wholeheartedly! Wholehearted ministry only comes from wholehearted prayer.
© Dr Paul Adams