I was reading the comings and goings of so many different judges and the revivals and backslidings that took place before and after each one – you can read about this yourself right here – Judges 10:1-18; 11:1-11
Here is what I understand – if my soul needs help right now and I have only one place to turn to – asking Jesus to fill me with His Holy Spirit. I must have access to the secret place of the Most High – it is His mercy that I depend on to redeem me from bondage and fear. Yet I know this truth – a right relationship with God is not when I call out suddently when help is needed. That kind of confidence has been established because I am serious about my relationship with Him and have committed to the habit of prayer and reliance on His wisdom. Only this kind of a relationship and only this practice of wisdom can bring help when the foundations of earthly things are destroyed.
In the act of praying for those in the front line of ministry, I found these prayer points to be helpful.
- Pray for joy in the midst of suffering and for kindness in the midst of slander
The same thing happened in Iconium: Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of Jews and Gentiles became believers. But the Jews who would not believe stirred up the Gentiles and turned them against the believers. – Acts 14:1-2 GNT
Suffering we know – we pray for intimacy with Jesus in the midst of it and that the character of Christ and the power of His Spirit will enable us to respond with grace.
2. Pray for supernatural power to be present.
The apostles stayed there for a long time, speaking boldly about the Lord, who proved that their message about his grace was true by giving them the power to perform miracles and wonders. – Acts 14:3 GNT
3. Pray for Christlike humility to be a mark of character and for patience – read Acts 14:4-18. Pray against the temptation of being prideful in ministry while it is being accomplished through the power of the Spirit. There will be many ups and downs, even losses.
4. Pray for perseverance.
Some Jews came from Antioch in Pisidia and from Iconium; they won the crowds over to their side, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. But when the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe. – Acts 14:19-20 GNT
For many there will be setback after setback, beatdown after beatdown and struggle after struggle.
5. Pray they will make disciples.
Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia. They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught. In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. – Acts 14:21-23 GNT
6. Pray that churches would multiply – Acts 14:24-28. Not just multiply them, but fill them with people who know the Word and led by pastors who teach the Word.
Jesus reveals the seriousness of being prepared for ministry and gives this pointer to HIs disciples.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive the spirit out?” “Only prayer can drive this kind out,” answered Jesus; “nothing else can.” – Mark 9:28-29 GNT
Could it be that Jesus was pointing out a flaw in their approach to ministry? Had they left depending on God and had somehow figured out the formula for driving out demons? I think when I am praying, I need to see that my ministry requires a constant attitude of humility and a reliance on Jesus – that is what prayer does.
O Lord, I fall into anxiety and fearfulness, but you faced the most astonishing dangers for me. You were torn to pieces, so bravely, for me, so I could be utterly loved and eternally safe in you. If you were courageous for me facing those overwhelming cosmic evils, I know you are with me now. Therefore, I can be steady as I face my problems. – Timothy Keller