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Pastoral Exhortation

Prayer And The Ministry Of The Word

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The Christian ministry has two principal parts: (1) prayer, and (2) the Word of God. The apostles emphasised this truth, when they told the early church, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). All care must be taken in the ministry of the church that none of our undertakings in the church ever hinder or divert our attention to the priority of prayer and the sound preaching of the Word.

Both prayer and the ministry of the Word are equally important. While much prayer without the guidance of the Word of God will lead to mysticism, much study of the Bible without prayer produces a mechanical, academic approach to the Scriptures - something that is all too evident in our day.

Our church must continue to be focused on prayer and the sound preaching of the Word. If we are going to be truly an effective church of Christ, our commitment to these two areas has to be total and unwavering.

All the leaders of the church must give themselves to continual and persistent prayer. The presence of God must become a great delight to them – whether it be approached individually or as a church. They must be diligent in praying with others and for others. This godly habit must be imitated by all the members of the church also.

Likewise, the leaders must be devoted to know, believe, obey and propagate God’s Word. Every leader must be a man of the Word of God. According to the grace that God has given, each must be enthusiastic in spreading the Word. Let all the members also love His Word and invite friends and relatives to come and hear the sound preaching of God’s Word in our church. The Christian world is fast losing its grip on the truth of God’s Word. Let us be thankful that our church still remains a Bible-believing and Biblepreaching church; and if we are thankful, then it is our duty to lead others to the glorious light of His perfect Word.

The Bible Enhance s Our Prayer Life

If you are truly a Bible-oriented person, you certainly have everything needed to enjoy a vibrant prayer life. The following facts show how the Bible can nourish one’s prayer life:

  1. The Bible is the Basis of All Prayer

    • All we need to know about prayer is found in the Bible. Any notion of prayer that is inconsistent or contrary to the Bible’s teachings on prayer would lead you to unacceptable prayers to God.

    • All that we ought to know about the God to whom we pray is found in the Bible. Knowledge of God is vital to enjoy a warm and effective prayer life.

    • Prayer must flow out of sound doctrines, which are found in the Bible.

    • The Scripture also shows that those who have been mighty in prayer were those who knew God well.

  2. The Bible is the Directive for Prayer

    • The Bible gives clear directives that Christians ought to be prayerful. If you are a Bible-reading Christian, it will rebuke you when you have slackened in prayer.

    • It also gives direction as to how we can be abundant in prayer. The various kinds of prayer (e.g., petition, intercession, thanksgiving and confession) are outlined in the Bible.

    • The conditions for effective prayer (faith, praying in the Spirit, in the will of God, etc.) are also laid down in the Bible (see John 15:7).

  3. The Bible is the Corrective for Prayer

    • Reasons why prayer is often unanswered (sin harboured in the heart, an unforgiving spirit, selfishness, ignorance, etc.) are revealed in the Bible.

  4. The Bible will often be the Subject of Prayer

    • We ought to pray for an understanding of the Word of God (see Psalm 119:18).

    • We can claim God’s promises given in the Bible, as Daniel did (see Daniel 9).

    • We are to study the instruction and exhortations of the Bible and pray that they will be fulfilled in our lives. We ought to pray “Lord, may Thy will be done in me.”

    • We are to grasp the information of the Bible and turn it into praise and thanksgiving. For >example: the return of Christ.

  5. The Bible and Its Messengers ought to be the Subject of Prayer

    • The Word of God is daily preached, taught, printed or distributed by the human instrument. The Scripture urges us that we ought to pray for those who are involved in the ministry of the Word. We also need to pray for the Word itself - that it might work with a full measure of His quickening power (see Isaiah 55:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:1).

  6. The Bible Provides Excellent Patterns of Prayer Life

    • The Bible records the lives and experiences of the men whom God used; and they were men of prayer. For example: Moses, Samuel, David and Paul.

    • In the Bible, we also find the record of the greatest of all men of prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ. If we would truly claim Him as Lord and Master, we also ought to yield ourselves to be like Him in our exercise of prayer.

Conclusion

A constant study of the Bible is essential for the nurture of our prayer life, and a consistent prayer life is essential for an understanding of the Bible. It will produce a closer walk with God, even a consistent prayer life.

Suggestion: For some heart-warming seasons of prayer, pray through (or pray in) a book of the Bible. Choose one of the shorter New Testament books, such as Philippians or Ephesians, and take a small portion of it each day. As you read, at each truth concerning God, salvation, heaven, etc., pause and give thanks. At each exhortation concerning character or service, pray that the Holy Spirit will make that virtue real in your own life. This is one of the highest functions in which the Bible can be employed.