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Prayers that availeth Much

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1 Prayers that availeth Much
Praying for Church Leadership

2 How to pray for church leadership?
“The most underutilized source of spiritual power in our churches today is the intercession for Christian leaders.” In his book, “The Prayer Shield”, C. Peter Wagner states that,

3 How to pray for church leadership?
“No question exists in the minds of those who have experienced it; committed, faithful intercession brings increased spiritual power to Christian ministries.” In his book, “The Prayer Shield”, C. Peter Wagner states that,

4 How to pray for church leadership?
“God will do nothing on earth except in answer to believing prayer.” You and I help to determine what happens to our leadership—blessing or cursing— We can pray whether God’s goodness is released in their ministries or whether the power of sin and Satan is permitted to influence them John Wesley is frequently quoted as saying,

5 “Brethren, pray for us” (I Thessalonians 5:25, NKJV).
The apostle Paul knew the importance of praying for leaders. He requested prayer five different times in his epistles. “Brethren, pray for us” (I Thessalonians 5:25, NKJV). Paul told the Thessalonians that he was praying for them and affirming their gifts of faith, hope, and love (I Thessalonians 1:2-3). At the end he asked them to pray for him, probably expecting them to pray for his faith, hope, and love to be increased. Christian fellowship (vv ) After the corporate worship is ended, the saints minister to one another. They greet one another and seek to encourage. I have been in churches where the congregation escaped Like rats leaving a sinking ship. Fellowship is a part of worship. The "holy kiss" was not a sensual thing. Usually the men kissed the men, and the women kissed the women (see Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 1 Peter 5:14). Often when ministering on mission fields, I have had the saints greet me in this way, and I have never been offended or suspicious. J.B. Phillips in his paraphrase solves the problem by saying, "Give a handshake all around among the brotherhood." Paul ended with another reminder that the Word of God is the important thing in the local church. The Word must govern our conduct and guide our lives. We are to read the Word personally, but we also need to hear the Word in the fellowship of the local church, for the one experience helps balance the other.

6 “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me” (Romans 15:30, NKJV). The Gentiles' Ministry to the Jews (Rom. 15:25-33) Paul and his associates had received a special offering from the Gentile churches in Greece for the suffering Jewish saints in Jerusalem. Details about this collection are recorded in 2 Cor 8-9. There were several purposes behind this special offering. To begin with, it was an expression of love on the part of the Gentiles toward their Jewish brethren. Second, it meant practical relief at a time when the poor Jewish believers needed it the most Third, it helped to unite Jews and Gentiles in the church. It was a bond that brought them closer together. Paul looked on this offering as the paying of a debt The Gentiles had received spiritual wealth from the Jews. They now returned material wealth, paying their debt Paul considered himself a "debtor" to the whole world (Rom 1:14). He also considered the Gentile Christians debtors to the Jews, for it was the Jews who gave to the Gentiles the Word of God and the Son of God. We Christians ought to feel an obligation to Israel, and to pay that debt by praying for Israel, sharing the Gospel, and helping in a material way. Anti-Semitism, has no place in the life of a dedicated Christian. Not only was this offering a payment of a debt but it was also "fruit" (Rom 15:28). It was not "loot" that Paul stole from the churches! It was fruit - the natural result of their walk with the Lord (see John 15:1-8). When the life of the Spirit flows through a church, giving is no problem. Paul, in 2 Cor 8:1-5, described the miracle of grace that occurred in the churches of Macedonia. Paul was anxious that this offering be received by the Jewish believers and be acceptable to them. He wanted to bring about, under God, a closer bond between the mother church at Jerusalem and the daughter churches in other parts of the empire. Unfortunately, there were still Jews who opposed the message of grace to the Gentiles and who wanted the Gentiles to become Jews and accept the Jewish Law. (Bible students call these people "Judaizers." They followed Paul wherever he went and tried to steal his churches from him. The Epistle to the Galatians was written to combat their evil works.) The words "strive together" in Rom 15:30 suggest an athlete giving his best in the contest. Perhaps the words "wrestling together" better express the idea. This same term is used of the praying of Epaphras in Col 4:12. This verse does not mean that we must fight with God to get what we need. Rather, it means our praying must not be a casual experience that has no heart or earnestness. We should put as much fervor into our praying as a wrestler does into his wrestling!

7 “You also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many” (II Corinthians 1:11, NKJV). Remember What God Does for You (2 Cor. 1:4 a, 8-11) He permits the trials to come. There are ten basic words for suffering in the Greek language, and Paul used five of them in this letter. The most frequently used word is thlipsis, which means "narrow, confined, under pressure," and in this letter is translated affliction (2 Cor 2:4; 4:17), tribulation (2 Cor 1:4), and trouble (2 Cor 1:4,8). Paul felt hemmed in by difficult circumstances, and the only way he Could look was up. In 2 Cor 1:5-6, Paul used the word pathima, "suffering," which was also used for the sufferings of our Saviour (1 Peter 1:11; 5:1). There are some sufferings that we endure simply because we are human and subject to pain; but there are other sufferings that come because we are Gods people and want to serve Him. We must never think that trouble is an accident For the believer, everything is a divine appointment There are only three possible outlooks a person can take when it comes to the trials of life. If our trials are the products of "fate" or "chance," then our only recourse is to give up. Nobody can control fate or chance. If we have to control everything ourselves, then the situation is equally as hopeless. But if God is in control, and we trust Him, then we can overcome circumstances with His help. God encourages us in all our tribulations by teaching us from His Word that it is He who permits trials to come.

8 “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:19, NKJV). Paul's Critics (Phil. 1:15-19) It is hard to believe that anyone would oppose Paul, but there were believers in Rome doing just that. The churches there were divided. Some preached Christ sincerely, wanting to see people saved. Some preached Christ insincerely, wanting to make the situation more difficult for Paul. The latter group was using the Gospel to further their own selfish purposes. Perhaps they belonged to the "legalistic" wing of the church that opposed Paul's ministry to the Gentiles and his emphasis on the grace of God as opposed to obedience to the Jewish Law. Envy and strife go together, just as love and unity go together. Paul uses an interesting word in Phil 1:16 - contention. It means "to canvass for office, to get people to support you." Paul's aim was to glorify Christ and get people to follow Him; his critics' aim was to promote themselves and win a following of their own. Instead of asking, "Have you trusted Christ?" they asked, "Whose side are you on - ours or Paul's?" Unfortunately, this kind of "religious politics" is still seen today. And the people who practice it need to realize that they are only hurting themselves. When you have the single mind, you look on your critics as another opportunity for the furtherance of the Gospel. Like a faithful soldier, Paul was "set [appointed] for the defense of the Gospel" (Phil 1:17). He was able to rejoice, not in the selfishness of his critics, but in the fact that Christ was being preached! There was no envy in Paul's heart. It mattered not that some were for him and some were against him. All that mattered was the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is a matter of historic record that the two great English evangelists, John Wesley and George Whitefield, disagreed on doctrinal matters. Both of them were very successful, preaching to thousands of people and seeing multitudes come to Christ. It is reported that somebody asked Wesley if he expected to see Whitefield in heaven, and the evangelist replied, "No, I do not." "Then you do not think Whitefield is a converted man?" "Of course he is a converted man!" Wesley said, "But I do not expect to see him in heaven - because he will be so close to the throne of God and I so far away that I will not be able to see him!" Though he differed with his brother in some matters, Wesley did not have any envy in his heart, nor did he seek to oppose Whitefield's ministry. Criticism is usually very hard to take, particularly when we are in difficult circumstances, as Paul was. How was the apostle able to rejoice even in the face of such diverse criticism? He possessed the single mind! Phil 1:19 indicates that Paul expected his case to turn out victoriously ("to my salvation") because of the prayers of his friends and the supply of the Holy Spirit of God, The word supply gives us our English word chorus. Whenever a Greek city was going to put on a special festival, somebody had to pay for the singers and dancers. The donation called for had to be a lavish one, and so this word came to mean "to provide generously and lavishly." Paul was not depending on his own dwindling resources; he was depending on the generous resources of God, ministered by the Holy Spirit. Paul shared in the pioneer advance of the Gospel in Rome through his chains and his critics; but he had a third tool that he used.

9 “I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you” (Philemon 22, NKJV).
The word translated "partner" is koinonia, which means "to have in common." It is translated "communication" in Philem 6, which means "fellowship." Paul volunteered to become a "business partner" with Philemon and help him solve the problem with Onesimus. He made two suggestions: "Receive him as myself," and "Put that [whatever he stole from you] on my account." As Philemon's new "partner," Paul could not leave Rome and go to Colossae, but he could send Onesimus as his Personal representative. "The way you treat Onesimus is the way you treat me," said the apostle. "He is to me as my own heart" (Philem 12). This is to me an illustration of what Jesus Christ has done for us as believers. God's people are so identified with Jesus Christ that God receives them as He receives His Son! We are "accepted in the Beloved" (Eph 1:6) and clothed in His righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). We certainly cannot approach God with any merit of our own, but God must receive us when we come to Him "in Jesus Christ." The word receive in Philem 17 means "to receive into one's family circle." Imagine a slave entering his master's family! But imagine a guilty sinner entering Gods family! Paul did not suggest that Philemon ignore the slave's crimes and forget about the debt Onesimus owed. Rather, Paul offered to pay the debt himself. "Put it on my account - I will repay it!" The language in Philem 19 sounds like a legal promissory note of that time. This was Paul's assurance to his friend that the debt would be paid. It takes more than love to solve the problem; love must pay a price. God does not save us by His love, for though He loves the whole world, the whole world is not saved. God saves sinners by His grace (Eph 2:8-9), and grace is love that pays a price. God in His holiness could not ignore the debt that we owe, for God must be faithful to His own Law. So He paid the debt for us!

10 Prayer for leadership is not an option, but rather a necessity
Christian leaders need a greater concentration of prayer and intercession because: They have more responsibility and accountability. They are more subjected to temptation. They are more targeted in spiritual warfare. They have more visibility and are subject to gossip and criticism. John Wesley is frequently quoted as saying,

11 How to pray for church leadership?
“Prayer and intercession for leadership are important to release God’s plan for the church to reach its potential.” “Praying for leadership will cause a positive change in their effectiveness and in the effectiveness of their ministries.” John Wesley is frequently quoted as saying,

12 How to pray for church leadership?
Our leaders are chosen by God to move His kingdom forward. Faithful, specific prayer and intercession will release them to be all God wants them to be. To the degree the intercessors pray, the leaders gain protection against the fiery darts of the wicked one, over and above the whole armor of God they are responsible for using. Prayer is one of the most important elements of a successful ministry today! A 1990 survey says, “There exists a tremendous reservoir of untapped prayer power in every church which can be affirmed, trained, and deployed to see the lost won, the apathetic revived, the backslider restored, and the committed made more effective.”,

13 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 1--Favor with God Pray for leaders to walk in the Spirit, pleasing to the Lord. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give personal direction, teaching, vision. Pray for ever-increasing knowledge of God. Pray for leaders’ work to be the best. A 1990 survey says, “There exists a tremendous reservoir of untapped prayer power in every church which can be affirmed, trained, and deployed to see the lost won, the apathetic revived, the backslider restored, and the committed made more effective.”,

14 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 1--Favor with God Pray for leaders to have strength to withstand fiery tests. Pray for leaders to be sensitive to God’s voice, to have spiritual ears and hearts. Pray for leaders to speak the Word with boldness wherever they go. A 1990 survey says, “There exists a tremendous reservoir of untapped prayer power in every church which can be affirmed, trained, and deployed to see the lost won, the apathetic revived, the backslider restored, and the committed made more effective.”,

15 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 2--Favor with Man Pray that people will be sensitive to financial needs of spiritual leaders and support them. Pray that there will be no gossip, deceit, or unbelief. Pray that God will send His ministering angels to guard the leaders. Pray that all leaders will be in unity and attuned to the Holy Spirit for direction, that they will be supportive of one another.

16 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 2--Favor with Man Pray for God to give leaders a spirit of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, strength, and obedient and reverent fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2). Pray that the leaders will witness effectively and boldly to the lost. Pray for God to prepare the hearts of those with whom the leaders share the gospel.

17 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 3--Pure Vision Pray for God to clarify His vision for ministry to the leaders. Pray for helpers in carrying out the vision. Pray for keen discernment between God’s wisdom and human wisdom. Pray for pure motives, purged by God through the Word and their personal prayer time. Pray for discernment against impure motives. Pray for God to lead and direct their path

18 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 4--Spirit, Soul, and Body Pray for divine health—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Pray for all effects of tiredness and discouragement to be loosed from the leaders’ minds and bodies. Pray for fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Pray for total submission to the Lord in every aspect of life.

19 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 4--Spirit, Soul, and Body Pray for a spirit of unity, not competition; humility, not superiority; cooperation, not defensiveness. Pray for leaders to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Pray for leaders to feed daily on the Word of God and maintain a faithful prayer life.

20 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 5--Warfare and Protection Pray that God would send angels to guard our leaders, their families, and property, to put a hedge of protection around all that is going in, coming out, the air above, and the ground below.

21 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 5--Warfare and Protection Pray that the angels would go before them and do battle in their behalf. Pray that God foils all attacks and traps of the enemy. Pray against all occult activity—curses, witchcraft divination, sorcery

22 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 6--Priorities Pray that the Lord will cause the leaders to abound in prosperity—body, soul, and spirit. Thank God for providing all the needs—personal, family, ministry. Pray for leaders to learn to be wise stewards of time, to become disciplined. Pray for leaders’ relationship with God to always remain the top prior

23 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 7--Family Pray for unity and understanding among the family members. Pray that there would be no resentment when sacrifice is required. Pray for God to meet the emotional needs.

24 7 Ways to pray for our church leadership
Day 7--Family Pray that leaders will spend quality time with their families—both leisure time and spiritual time. Pray for the family to discern each other’s needs—emotional, physical, material, and spiritual. Pray for them to overcome pressures and stress. Pray that the children will be free from expectations put on them that are not in line with God’s will.

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