“What are the keys to effective, long tenured ministry?” I asked Wayne Marshall that question in 2010… At that point, we were beginning to talk about my role on staff, and he was approaching 20 years as the Senior Pastor of Longview Heights.
His answer was simple, sincere, and deeply profound… “LEAD PRAYERFULLY”, he said. In the midst of this conversation, little did I know how invested he was in this philosophy. I remember with great clarity the first time I watched him on his face before the Lord, weeping over the people. It moved me! Over our five years together, I watched him make decisions bathed in prayer, seek the Lord in times of prayer, and weekly lift the staff and congregation in intercession.
Maybe the most fundamental of all lessons that I learned from Wayne Marshall was simply this, “A Pastor MUST be a man of prayer!”.
That said, the very title "praying pastor" is a reflection of the tragic departure from God in our day. Every pastor should without exception be a man of prayer. Empty messages flow from empty men. How can God speak through us if we have not allowed Him to speak to us? The church will never be a "house of prayer" until the pastor is a "man of prayer."
We MUST stay on our knees. We MUST hear from God. We MUST teach, preach, and lead from a position of prayerfulness!
Pastor Eric Dodson wrote about the Bible’s encouragement for pastors to pray - “Though the Bible says a great deal about preaching, only a few passages speak directly about sermon preparation (cf. Ezra 7:10 and 2 Timothy 2:15). Yet there are many passages that highlight the need for consistent prayer. This is not to say that sermon preparation is unimportant (for it certainly is). Rather, it is to emphasize the vital necessity of prayer. Even pastors need to be reminded that prayer is an essential part of their ministry, and that praying for their people is a biblical priority.”
Ephesians 1:16-18a — “. . . while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened . . .”
The church (and the world) needs pastors who lead prayerfully, preach biblical truth passionately, and live out Christianity authentically.
The Praying Pastor:
- places more trust in prayer than in programs;
- preaches messages from the prayer closet, rather than from his bookshelf;
- values the anointing of the Father over the accolades of men;
- lives in the context of prayer;
- seeks to please the Father rather than to appease the congregation;
- is marked by a passionate pursuit of the Father's heart;
- spends more time in private prayer than he does in public speaking;
- preaches messages that are born and bathed in prayer;
- lives and ministers on his knees;
- preaches messages from the Father's heart rather than off of the top of his head;
- shares the Father's vision by hearing the Father's voice.
Excerpts from Prayer Meeting First Aid Kit, Keeney Dickenson, Prayeridigm Publishing, 2005.
Christ-follower, husband, dad, friend & the Senior Pastor of Hardy Street Baptist Church.