I’m wonderfully prayed for and encouraged here at mgpc.
It’s not that everyone agrees with me, or won’t tell me when they don’t; but whatever the circumstances we share a common purpose which means our interactions are constructive.
But I know that there are servants of the Gospel whose hearts will be heavy tonight with anticipation that tomorrow will be another round of lifeless criticism and negativity. It is not that these folk are looking for applause and popularity, but rather an affirmation of partnership and fellowship. Perhaps you know similarly burdened under-shepherds of God’s flock.
Tonight pray for them in terms like these, which are given to us by Scotty Smith on his blog Heavenward:
When we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever. 2 Corinthians 7:5-7
Dear heavenly Father, my heart turns today to a bevy of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, whose callings are primarily centered around the gospel. Pastors, missionaries, church staff folk, itinerate ministers, counselors… faithful women and men who, like Paul, often feel “harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within.”
I’m quite aware of the price they pay… the burdens they carry… the challenges they face… and the wars they wage. Some are ready to give up. Some already have. Others simply don’t know where to go with the “crazy”… the exhaustion… their emptiness and the weight of unlimited obligations and un-pleaseable people.
I join many others in bringing your weary servants before your throne of grace. Empower our praying by the Holy Spirit. Fuel our praying with the promises of the gospel. (Take a few moments and pray for some of Jesus’ servants the Holy Spirit is already bringing to mind as you pray-read through this prayer)
Father, our great joy is in knowing you to be the God who “comforts the downcast.” You don’t shame the downcast… you don’t roll your eyes in disgust… you don’t pass them by. You send us, like Titus, to offer your presence, encouragement, refreshment and hope. So even as we renew our commitment to pray for the ministry-worn women and men you put on our hearts, what will putting “legs on our prayers” look like?
Who do we visit… call… send a “care package”… send to a Bed and Breakfast for a night… buy a massage? Who do we, quite literally, rescue from harm’s way? Who do we insist get help—for themselves and their marriages? Where is a “soft intervention” needed because of the destructive cycles of driven-ness… busyness… and not taking care of their health, heart and finances? Show us, Lord… lead us… strengthen us for loving them well.
Father, as you restored Paul to a “greater joy than ever,” we pray that you will restore our friends, your servants, to the “inexpressible and glorious joy” of being loved by Jesus (1 Peter 1:8-9). So very Amen, we pray, in Jesus’ caring and compassionate name.