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The Pastor’s Prayer

Ever climbing. Ever strategizing. Ever studying. Ever worried about outcomes and growth and finances and hurting people. This is the life of a pastor. It is a good life. Rich with joy and the glory of the gospel. But this life is not about how well I can climb or what solutions I can devise. This is in fact God’s cause. And I rejoice to be in it.

Today I am thankful for the reminder from this prayer from the Valley of Vision.

“Sovereign God,

Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart, and I appeal to thee with greatest freedom to set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns; Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice, for to bring honour to thy name is my sole desire.

I adore thee that thou are God, and long that others should know it, feel it, and rejoice in it. O that all men might love and praise thee, that thou mightest have all glory from the intelligent world!

Let sinners be brought to thee for thy dear name!

To the eye of reason everything respecting the conversion of others is as dark as midnight, But thou canst accomplish great things; the cause is thine, and it is to thy glory that men should be saved.

Lord, use me as thou wilt, do with me what thou wilt; but, O, promote thy cause, let thy kingdom come, let thy blessed interest be advanced in this world!

O do thou bring in great numbers to Jesus! Let me see that glorious day, and give me to grasp for multitudes of souls; let me be willing to die to that end; and while I live let me labour for thee to the utmost of my strength, spending time profitably in this work, both in health and in weakness.

It is thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own. O, answer thou my request!”

Discipleship

Proclamation and Presence

What is the role of a pastor? I often wonder how I should answer this question for myself doing ministry and for those thinking of being vocationally involved in the church. While I might be called a “director” the reality is that I do pastoral ministry so I must fully contemplate what that means so I can venture to do it better. In my short time in ministry I am learning that pastoral ministry has two key functions: Proclamation and Presence.

First proclamation. This word pretty clearly is defined by “preaching” and teaching. But I want to suggest that it is vitally important what we preach and anything less than the gospel of Jesus is in fact not proclamation and instead entertainment, condemnation or simply empty rhetoric. Those we are called to shepard are in need of the proclaimed truth of who Jesus is and what that means for our lives. The world around them declares plenty of platitudes and tells plenty of silly jokes. Pastor, you are called to proclaim the truth of Christ’s finished work on the cross and our life in response to and because of that. You should really have just one sermon – preached through every text of the Bible week after week.

Without proclamation our people have no rudder and no hope. Without proclamation we usually end up with a bunch of guilt ridden overworked disciples or those that think the world is their oyster and nothing can hold them back. Neither reflect the gospel. Be about proclamation.

The second piece of the pastoral calling as I see it is presence. Be with those you pastor. There have been a couple of moments already this week that I realized the people I am leading just need me to be with them as they pursue Jesus and face the difficulties of life. This one that lots of time and availability but it is worth it. You can show them the truth of Christ being with them as you are with them. In our culture of “balance” and “clocking in” diminishes the presence piece of ministry and if you are more worried about your office hours I wonder how badly your church is in need of your presence. Being present is not clean and orderly. It might mean longer hours, it might mean emotional exhaustion, it might mean a lack of “balance” but it is what we must be about. We pursue our savior and ensure we are refreshed in Him and then we pour ourselves out for those we pastor.

With these two parts of pastoral ministry handled I think you will be in a pretty good spot. What are things we could add to the list? Should we add anything?