The greatest contribution ever made to my spiritual growth and strength came from those who prayed for me. I have had the privilege of listening to great preaching and sat in classes with some fantastic teachers but what opened my heart to hear and to receive what was being taught were the prayers of godly people. In addition to my parents there was the elderly but godly woman in my home church who prayed for me regularly.
There was a season in my ministry when I know of three men who prayed for me regularly. Those men carried me for several years. I remember the sense of loss when each man went to be with the Lord. I have benefited greatly from the prayers of others.
The greatest contribution any leader can make is to pray for those under his care. Jesus modeled this value in John 17 when He prayed for His disciples. He had taught them ministry skills and priorities and then before He left them, He prayed for them.
Paul also modeled this value. As he wrote to the churches, he reminded them of the blessings he was praying for them. He prayed that God would give them a spirit of wisdom and discernment; he prayer that their live would abound more and more; that they would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will; and that they would increase in love for one another and be established blameless in holiness.
As ministry leaders, consider praying for the families of your church. Pray through the church directory family by family. Pray John 17 for them. Pray some of Paul’s prayers. Begin to pray specifically rather than simply asking God to “bless” them.
It is easy to become lazy in prayer. We are busy people and so we rush into the place of pray; pray for the sick; for God to lead in the next meeting; resolve the latest crisis; bless the missionaries and the people of the church. Jesus was specific in His pray for the disciples. Paul was also specific. We can have the greatest impact on the people we serve by praying for them.