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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pray for Your Pastor

We’ve heard many calls to pray for our churches and pastors, but in his second chapter of Prayer, The Mightiest Force in the World, Frank Laubach issues a different challenge to church members. He appeals to church members (and attenders) “to pray while our pastor is preaching. Don’t shut your eyes unless you wish to, but keep asking God to speak through the pastor’s lips and in our hearts” (Prayer, The Mightiest Force in the World, Fleming H. Revell Company, Westwood, New Jersey, 1946, page 45).

What would happen if we took his challenge to heart, and began to pray for every pastor we listen to while he or she is preaching? Too often we focus on what we can “get out of a sermon.” How often do we think about what we can put into the sermon through prayer while our pastor is speaking? Are you willing to pray while you listen?

As Dr. Laubach writes: “It will be an exciting experiment. Remember, you are the church, and the pastor is your servant. Each of you is just as important in making a great service as he is. He can’t do his [or her] best alone. Your prayer sets the spiritual atmosphere without which no sermon can be great. Together we can lift the pastor and the service to new heights . . . Praying together in this church today is one grand way in which we can help Christ to give us vision and power to lift the world.

“So pray inwardly every minute, and see what happens.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pray for World Leaders

“Millions of us ordinary people must pour an incessant white light of prayer upon our world leaders, day after day. We must lift the heads of those leaders toward God so that they will hear Him and obey His will. Enough people praying will release into the human blood stream the mightiest medicine in the universe, for we shall be channels through whom God can exert His infinite power. Prayer is to the world of human relations what white corpuscles are to the human body.”

This call to prayer was not written after our recent election, but sometime in 1946.

The writer is Dr. Frank Charles Laubach, known as “the Apostle of Literacy,” a missionary in the Philippines, and founder of Laubach Literacy, which merged with Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. in 2002 to form ProLiteracy Worldwide.

During the latter years of his life, he traveled all over the world speaking on topics of literacy and world peace. He was author of a number of devotional writings and works on literacy.

The first passage quoted here is from Prayer, The Mightiest Force in the World by Frank C. Laubach, (Fleming H. Revell Company, Westwood, New Jersey, 1946, pages 17-18). I came across the title while searching for another book on Amazon, and while it is somewhat dated, there are passages like the first quotation that are well worth reading, re-reading, and acting upon in the year 2008 and beyond.

Let us pray for all world leaders, as Paul wrote to Timothy:

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

“He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.

“Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God” (1 Timothy 2:1-8, The Message).

Make some time to pray for your country’s leaders today. Then, as God leads you, pray for the leaders of other countries you learn about on the Internet, in the newspaper, or on the nightly news.