Prayer Beyond the Pressing

It should go without saying that a preacher should be a pray-er.  It doesn’t.  We are living in a day when much noise has drowned much prayer, not only for the typical churchgoer, but sadly for the typical church preacher.  If the preacher is employed by the church, the job description has grown exponentially in terms of what is expected (being dedicated to the Word and to prayer seems a long way off for many).  If the preacher is employed in “normal” work and preaches in spare time, it goes without saying that life is also very busy.

While I don’t want to paint a picture that is unfair in gross generalizations, it does seem that many are falling short in their prayer life.  Some may have lost prayer life altogether.  Many are possibly reduced to prayer for the pressing.  Do you find yourself squeezed into that pattern?  Prayer for next Sunday.  Prayer for current crises in the congregation.  Prayer for pressing matters of ministry and “church vision.”  The next project, the next event, the next weekend.

Perhaps it would be helpful to take a walk with God today.  Take time away from the desk, from the PC, from the phone, leave your mobile/cell, your PDA, or any other contemporary contraption (I’m tempted to say pager – just in case anyone still has one!)  Take some time and space, then pray.  Ask God to lift your eyes and your heart beyond the pressing concerns.  Certainly cast those cares on Him, but look beyond Sunday, beyond the current project.  Try to look longer term and pray accordingly.  Get a sense of where you are going.  That could mean praying in terms of five or ten years.  It could mean praying in terms of eternity.  Both are healthy.  This kind of prayer, combined with the dreaming of faith, lifts us from the pressing to have a heart stirred by this God who holds the future, this God who keeps His promises over the very long haul, this God who can wrap up history and move us into an eternity we don’t deserve despite the forces of hell being arrayed against Him.

Prayer beyond the pressing is important.  It’s important in our ministry.  It’s important in our personal walk with Christ.  It’s important.  Don’t let the pressing press away the delight of a longer-term gaze.  (Not that this is the most important thing, but I’m sure your preaching this Sunday will only be strengthened by a heart lifted to heaven, a bigger picture view of life and ministry, and a fresh reliance on our great God!)

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