PASTORS NEED TO PRAY WITH COURAGE
Several years ago, I was praying in my living room in Tucson, AZ. My wife and I were only married for a few short years and had two toddlers. The ministry at my church was going great, and both sides of our families were just minutes away. Life was good.
But as I prayed that night, I was led to read Colossians 1:10: “So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” These words from Scripture hit me like a ton of bricks. It was as though God was asking me, “Jason, do you want to walk in a manner worthy of Me? Do you want to bear more fruit for Me? If you do, then step out in faith and move to Charlotte, NC.”
I remember crying out to God and telling Him that I wanted to serve Him and do whatever He called me to do. The next morning my wife asked me, “Has the Lord spoken to you about moving?” I told her what had happened the night before. She could hear the reluctance in my voice. I proceeded to give all the reasons why we couldn’t move. I have a good job. Our families live here. This is the place I’ve grown up. My wife patiently listened, and then boldly replied, “Honey, I just want you to know my bags are already packed.”
That was the courage I needed to hear! God was pushing me out of my comfort zone, and into a new place where He was about to unleash an abundant harvest.
We said goodbye to our family, friends, and church and moved our family to Charlotte, NC.
Modeled in the Old Testament
There is an extraordinary individual in the Old Testament who displayed great courage in his prayers to God. His name is David. Not only was he Israel’s greatest king, but David’s life of prayer has been the single greatest example of all time. In 2 Samuel 7, David is zealous to build God a temple (7:1-3). Upon hearing from Nathan the promises that God would build David a royal house that would usher in His eternal kingdom (vs. 4-17), David received “courage” (vs. 27), and decided to offer a bold prayer to God (vs. 18-26). The word “courage” (Heb., leb), means “a seat of appetites, emotions, and/or passions.” David was so overwhelmed by the power and goodness of God, that he was moved with immense passion to offer the Lord a deep-seated prayer of praise. When God gets a hold of your heart—you too can experience an overwhelming sense of courage like David did.
Modeled in the New Testament
There are some crazy things that happened in the early church. Take, for instance, when Peter and John were going to the temple for a time of prayer. As they entered past the “Beautiful Gate,” a lame man asked them for alms. Peter said to the lame man, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Ac. 3:6). Peter reached out and took the man’s right hand, and instantly the lame man’s “feet and ankles were made strong.” (vs. 7). No doubt the commotion this miracle stirred up was not something Peter nor John intended for. But it got the religious leaders’ attention.
After delivering a power-packed sermon to the people (3:12-26), the priests, captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, had Peter and John arrested. The next day Peter and John were strictly forbidden to share Jesus and threatened that if they did, they would receive harsh punishment. After Peter and John were released, they reported to their friends what God had done. The news of hearing how God used Peter to heal a lame man, preach a message that resulted in 5,000 men coming to Christ, and boldly standing against persecution, caused many to give thanks to God. But that wasn’t all. To the early believers, what had just occurred was only the beginning. Notice the courageous prayer they offered to the Lord: “Do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Ac. 4:28-30).
This is the kind of confidence pastors need to have in prayer before God. No matter what the challenges may be or the series of threats a pastor may receive, praying that God will continue to use you to speak boldly the gospel is a courageous prayer.
Modeled in Your Life—Personal Focus
As you are well aware, the Bible commands that you come to the throne of grace with great confidence (Heb. 4:16). And so as you do, remember the remaining part of the verse that gives the promise that you will receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Take this time and confidently seek God for more courage and boldness in your faith walk.
Modeled in Your Home—Parental Focus
Paul tells Christians to pray for courage (Ephesians 6:19-20). As the spiritual leader in your home, take this opportunity to pray that your wife and children will become more courageous in the Lord.
Modeled in Your Church—Pastoral Focus
Pray that your church will pattern their prayers to be more bold and courageous like the early church in Acts 4:23-31.