Wednesday, 3 November 2010

"A Man of Prayer"

On the 29th of December 1849 the Scottish minister Andrew Bonar spent some time looking back over his life and ministry over the past year. What he has to say in his diary as he examines the past year is a great challenge to us, especially to those of us in Christian ministry. Read these words and spend some time examining your own life and ministry:
Solemn view of last year. I get slowly, slowly on in grace. I am creeping by the shore only, not thrusting out into the deep. My chief desire should be on this day to be a man of prayer, for there is no want of speaking and writing and preaching and teching and warning; but there is need of the Holy Spirit to make all this effectual. The Lord help me to pray for the eyes of believers being opened to see the Lord's Coming. Help me to pray for my poor flock! Help me to cry for my wife's growth in grace as truly as she grows in kindness and attention to me! Help me to be a blessing to the whole earth next year.
May we be men and women of prayer. May we be those who give themselves to wrestling with God in prayer. If we continue in the work of the gospel without devoting ourselves to prayer, we are arrogantly saying that we can do this work in our own strength and with our own resources. This is a lie, we can do nothing by ourselves. Jesus says "...apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5). Yes it is vital that we are proclaiming the gospel as revealed in Scripture and devoting ourselves to dilligently teaching the whole counsel of God from Scripture. But we need also to be giving oursleves to persistent prayer. The work of the gospel is the work of "...prayer and the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:4). It's both...and, not either...or. Yet we so easily let the vital importance of prayer be forgotten in the work of the gospel. Let us be those who are men and women of prayer.