DELIVERANCE AND HEALING
By PBS Ministries
We read in Acts 6:1-4:
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Church leaders, please take note, your attention should be to devote yourselves first of all to prayer, then to the ministry of the Word. We may be surprised if we are to ask some, not all, church leaders or pastors what do they give their attention to or how often they set aside time to talk with God? The disciples knew the importance of plugging in and connecting with God through prayer so that their ministry can be successful. The amount of time that church leaders spend in prayer, would reflect on the kind of ministry they lead. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit through prayer, some churches will be relegated to just another social club.
Apostle Paul tells us about one of the greatest prayer warriors of the early church. His name was Epaphras, a servant of the Lord who labored fervently in prayers for the church at Colossae that they may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Can we say that we have many Epaphras’ today, who fervently labor in prayer for their church?
To desire more of God, we have to pray more. Seek God earnestly in prayer for the success and growth of your church. God is saying, as a people, we should pray more. I am not a pastor as yet, I have been called to the teaching and preaching ministry and every step of the way, God tells me to “Pray always, keep praying, the first thing you must do is pray, you must pray for others…” God inhabits the praises of His people. God likes to know we can seek Him first in every situation and not lean on our own understanding. God is faithful in hearing and answering our prayer, yet prayer is something that many hardly do because they claimed their prayers are never answered.
I read a post on the Internet, where during a panel discussion at the conclusion of the Desiring God pastors conference in Minneapolis, on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, one of the pastors confessed that during his 20 years in ministry, there wasn’t a specific answered prayer he could point to.
“It’s caused me to struggle in my ministry and in leading people because I don’t feel like even though I do it that I can see the specific intervening of the hand of God,” the anonymous person wrote.
Another pastor submitted, “‘If you abide in me and my Word abides in you ask what you will and it will be done.’ This never happens in my ministry.”
The Bible admonishes us to pray without ceasing. And as we pray, God hears, and in His answer to our prayers, He chooses if to say Yes, No, or Wait. We just have to be patient. Philippians 4: 6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Abraham prayed and waited for years before the Lord blessed him with his son Isaac. God wants us to be patient and learn to trust Him some more.
A well prayed-up church is a church that is alive with the Holy Spirit. Revival comes to that church. When there is revival in the church, lives will be changed, souls will be saved for God, worship will be enhanced, the gospel will be preached with more power, members will freely give like never before, they will be eager to serve and there will be unity and maturity in the church.
Following prayer is the ministry of the Word of God. Apostle Paul tells us in Second Timothy 4 that we are to preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. We know that all Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. Therefore, as preachers, teachers and pastors,we are charged with the responsibility to rightly divide the Word of truth with all wisdom and truth and to bring clarity to the congregation. Apostle Paul says in First Corinthians 2: 4-5, “ My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
Today, the gospel message is presented in many forms: through teaching and preaching from the pulpit, through witnessing to one another in groups, through Christian music, through drama, through teaching and preaching on the Internet, through Bible studies and home fellowship among others. As we live the Christian life and proclaim the Good News to the unsaved world, God will not let His Word return to Him void. It will accomplish that which it was sent for, penetrating even to the dividing of soul and spirit , joints and marrow and judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
I encourage us all, let us continually devote ourselves to prayer and ministering the Word of God until Christ comes again, so that the church may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Amen.