If you are like me, you will be an admirer of Paul the apostle. Some of the most inspiring passages in the New Testament relate to what he prayed. Take for instance his stint in Philippi. It was a very successful mission trip despite him having to leave in something of a hurry after some turned against him. Later he writes to them and the depth of his love is obvious. And he tells them that he prays for them. What does he pray for them?
He prays that they will grow in love, they will grow in knowledge, in revelation, and in discernment.
The pattern is the same in all his prayers and reveals the true condition of his heart towards the people he ministered to. Thinking about it triggerred some questions in my mind and consequently some lessons and conclusions.
- What am I praying for the people i lead?
- What am i asking God to do in their lives?
- Do i get so caught up in the temporal needs of people that i fail to cry out for inward transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit, and for revelation of God?
- As leaders our prayers must deal more with the intangible and invisible realities of the kingdom, they alone will ensure durable life change and holiness.
Then he tells them that his joy will overflow in knowing that they are united in thought, in love, in feelings and that they are pursuing the same objective. This is what he desires for his people.
- What does my heart desire for the people i lead?
- what makes me happy concerning them?
- what is the work of God in their lives that gets me excited?
- what kind of testimonies thrill me?
- Unity, peace, love, harmony, devotion to the purposes of God are to be greatly prized. They are the incontrovertible proof that God is at work in a church.
And he encourages them to obey, to live a life worthy of the gospel, to contend for the faith, to accept to suffer for the gospel and to be humble.
- Do i preach these things or i simply scratch their itch and nourish their carnal desires so they keep coming back to feed my famished ego every week?
- Do i fear to call for obedience, godly living, humility, unity and an evangelistic lifestyle for fear of boring people? Paul did not.
- Obedience, right living, humility, steadfastness will never be outdated. Leaders must resist the temptation to pander to the whims of the age and the foibles of carnal believers. As churches have turned from seeking to win souls to enticing the saints, leaders have begun to compromise on the quality of the life of the believer. You want to give that pit a wide berth.
It was this heart, this motivation that caused Paul to have the hugely successful ministry that he had. The recipe for ministerial success and satisfaction is not the satisfaction of men but the pleasure of God. Paul never ceases to challenge and teach us.
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Books - An Eye to the Crown; Reborn.
TV - Passion pour Dieu.
Ministry - Abba House church, The Theophilus Company.
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