Encouragement for Church Prayer Leaders

I had the privilege of interviewing a pastor today; one who got saved after he graduated from seminary and pastored a few churches.

How cool is that?! Listen to my Leighann McCoy podcast and you'll get to hear Rick Nelson's story next week. This week I posted an interview with Dr. Chuck Lawless who shares with us a great definition of spiritual warfare and discusses the battle to believe. You will love this conversation as well.

Back to Rick. As he was sharing, I thought how hard it must have been for him to overcome the humility of admitting to his congregation that he'd been leading them all this time and he wasn't even saved. And then, I got to thinking about how hard it is to live our faith authentically as we lead ministry. 

I want to encourage you today with these 3 truths:

1. It's okay to struggle in your own prayer life while you urge others to pray.

One of my favorite Bible stories is the one that tells of Jacob's tussle with God near the Jabbok brook. You can read it in Genesis 32. There's a whole lot to this story, but the main thing I want us to notice for the sake of this conversation is that Jacob took hold of God and refused to let Him go until He blessed him.

Often it's those of us who know God well who wrestle most in our prayer lives. God loves that kind of struggle! It's in the wrestling that we get to know Him better. We might walk away from that season of life and heartache with a limp, but it's a glorious limp when it comes with the added blessing of being changed by God.

You can lead others to trust God in prayer even when you're wrestling.

2. Success in prayer ministry isn't about numbers.

Dr. Lawless reminded me of this in our conversation. Jesus must have known how hard it would be to get the people praying because He said,

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20 NKJV

When we schedule a prayer meeting and only a handful of people show up; we can know that God is in our midst. And when He shows up, it's way better than if the entire congregation came. Sometimes, (Dr. Lawless reminded us) it's better to have a handful (or 1 or 2) people, who know how and love to pray, than it is to have a crowd. Check out my interview with Dr. Chuck Lawless here.

No matter how many join us for prayer, we know our prayers are powerful. 

3. There's another "you" out there.

I've taught prayer conferences all over the nation and in many other countries and I have yet to find a local congregation where someone didn't carry a passion for prayer. Many times that someone is lonely and heavy laden. 

Within the reach of this blog post, most of us live in communities where there is more than 1 church. I can just about guarantee that there's someone the same as you in those other churches. I've found a great source of encouragement in getting to know the other prayer leaders in my community. In just a few weeks we're going to get our prayer teams together to serve at our annual community wide National Day of Prayer. And besides having a powerful evening of worship and prayer for our nation, we are also going to get to enjoy the camaraderie of seeing how many others share this call of leading prayer. 

Reach out to the churches in your area and see if you can get connected with their prayer leaders. You will be so glad that you did! 

As a final note of encouragement, I want you to close with this prayer for you:

Father I am so grateful that you open the door to your throne room and encourage us to come in. Thank You for giving us a passion for prayer. Connect this reader with others who share this passion so that they can lift each other up. And continue to guide all of us in our own prayer live. Thank You for loving us so much that You let us participate in Your divine purpose even though we no doubt require a whole lot of patience as You wait on us to figure out how to do our part. Give us partners who believe You, and leaders at our churches who understand that we can do absolutely nothing without You. We love You LORD! Amen.


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