Sacred Substitutes

Just following up on Monday’s post on prayer . . . I appreciate the next chapter in Piper’s Brothers We Are Not Professionals – Beware of Sacred Substitutes.  What is the greatest threat to genuine prayer and true meditation on the Word?  It is ministry activity.  “Ministry is its own worst enemy.”  (p59)

How true this is!  Turning to Acts 6:2-4, Piper exhorts the reader to guard against the many sacred substitutes, the real needs, the pressing concerns of ministry.  “Without extended, concentrated prayer, the ministry of the Word withers.” (p60)

Consider what must be sacrificed in order to take genuinely focused time in prayer this week.  Don’t leave prayer until your message is prepared.  Don’t leave prayer until the unplanned needs are addressed.  Don’t leave prayer until your next day off.  Don’t even leave prayer until it can be used to “redeem the time” in the car journey between appointments.

There are many sacred substitutes that come our way.  Even apart from the flesh, laziness, entertainment, and the enemy himself.  Just in the good and the right and the needy and the appropriate – there are many substitutes that will steal us away from the real priority.  “Without extended, concentrated prayer, the ministry of the Word withers.”

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