Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why Pastors Need Intercession

After reading this article by Dr. C. Peter Wagner, I thought it to be appropriate to share with you the need for God’s people to pray intercession prayers for their pastor.

I am convinced that most church members have little appreciation of the cost of being a pastor. They know what their pastor looks like and sounds like on the outside, but they have little idea of what is happening on the inside.

Pastors are also human beings. They are saved by grace, but they are saved and sanctified no differently than anyone else is in the congregation. But pastors do live with high expectations from congregants to perform to the highest standards of service as is set in the minds of both the spiritual and unspiritual congregants. 

If a pastoral leader is regarded by those he leads to be somewhat higher on the scale of piety and spiritual attainment than they are, it makes it most difficult for the pastor to admit that he faces the same temptations in life that his people do.

Because of increasing pressure on ministers today, Wagner states that “an alarming number of pastors have dropped out of the ministry in epidemic proportions in the past 20 years. The powers of darkness have also been at work in causing burnout and moral failure making the need for spiritual weapons much greater. This is where intercession for pastors has enormous potential.”

Dr. Wagner has pointed out five reasons why pastors and other Christian leaders need intercession more than regular member of the body of Christ.

1. Pastors have more responsibility and accountability. James 3:1 “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgement.” If spiritual leaders violate their office that has been granted by God and recognized by the Christian community, it is a grievous offense to breach that trust. Their judgement will be more severe. One reason pastors have a greater need for intercession.

2. Pastors are more subject to temptation. The higher you go on the ladder of Christian leadership, the higher you go on Satan’s hit list. Greed, power, and pride are the strongest of lures for ministers. Satan is more persistent and intentional to destroy shepherds and to scatter the flock of believers.

3. Pastors are more targeted by spiritual warfare. Satanist literally are known to be praying to Satan for marriage and family breakdown and for pastoral ministries to be destroyed through immorality and marriage failure. Satan actually enacts his power through the prayers of his followers against Christian leaders. The defense of Christian leaders is namely the power of God released through effective, intelligent intercession in the name of Jesus.

4. Pastors have more influence on others. If a pastor falls, more people are set back in their spiritual lives than if others fall. Jesus reminds us that when “the Shepherd is struck down, the sheep will be scattered.” Mark 14:27. Intercession for pastors is needed to release God’s plan in the church.

5. Pastors have more visibility. Pastors are constantly subject to gossip and criticism. It’s no secret that pastors are closely observed. But this burden can be lifted through supernatural help from God which is opened up for them through intercessory prayer. 

Pray for your pastors.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Be Strong in the Lord!

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:10, 11) NKJV “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh) but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5)

As those scriptures indicate we’re in a battle. God’s people have been taking some heavy blows from Satan’s attacks as he continues to assault the church by putting pressure on one believer at a time. None of us are immune from his attempts to discourage, weaken, or defeat us, or put us on the sidelines for awhile.

That’s why God has given us weapons in the Spirit with which to arm ourselves and ward off enemy attacks. Some people will excuse the hard things that happen to us as just being part of what life itself brings upon us. That may be partly true, but we do have an enemy to whom we need to stay alert, be watchful, and arm ourselves by putting on the whole armor of God. Nothing gives the enemy more ground for attack than to passively resist his advances. Let’s be front-line warriors who confront the enemy’s attacks by using our God-given weapons to ward him off!

WINNING SPIRITUAL BATTLES

*Take the offensive in prayer! Ask God to light a holy fire in your soul by the power of the Holy Spirit, to transform your praying from weakness to prevailing power in the heavenlies - the realm where Satan’s forces gather.

*Do everything in the power of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit has come to drive out Satan before you. “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19) In this warfare you do not fight alone; the battle belongs to the Lord. “The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you.” (Deut. 1:30)

*Saturate your soul with the Word of God! Maintain your spiritual strength at all times. “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17) Use the promises that God gives you in the Bible to claim your victory!

*Use praise as a weapon against the enemy! “Let the high praise of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand...to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the written judgment—this honor have all His saints, praise the Lord!” (Psalm 149:5-6, 8-9)
Most importantly - employ prayer first to enlist the wisdom and power of God Almighty! Pray reverently, humbly, continually, expectantly, and gratefully. When we pray that way, the Lord will be pleased to hear and to answer. We will be blessed abundantly and He will be glorified!