I was invited by the local organizers of the Cincinnati National Day of Prayer to offer a prayer for “Ministers and their Families” during this year’s observation. Sadly, the event was rained out. Here is the prayer I prepared, offered now as an online prayer of the heart.
National Day of Prayer 2018
For Ministers and their families
Lord, we praise you as the ruler of all; you are the beginning; you are the resurrection and the life. you are the head of the church. You are the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.
We glorify you that in your mercy you call all your people as ministers and servants. You call all your people to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation brought out of darkness into your wonderful light.
We thank you that in your wisdom, you appoint from among your people ministers of various capacities who are called to serve your people by equipping them for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up and we may reach maturity.
We pray for all of those in ministry roles.
- Grow within them the courage to speak truth plainly and clearly, especially when it is difficult, frightening or offensive. But also grow within them the wisdom to speak the truth in love so that we all may grow in Christlikeness.
- Root out of them the sly subtle voice that urges them to think themselves great and pursue power, fame, recognition, and glory. Rather, instruct your ministers to say, with John the Baptist: “Christ must increase, I must decrease.”
- Purge from them the temptation to treat other people as pawns or playthings. Rather, grow within them the tenderness to treat those persons entrusted to their care as divine image bearers, whom they are called to honor, protect, nurture, and develop.
- Encourage them when the work seems overwhelming, unrewarding, unheralded, and thankless. Protect them from the insidious temptation of comparing their mundane days with others’ glorious moments.
- Grow within them a collegiality that cuts across denominational divides, racial and ethnic barriers, theological chasms, and demographic fragmentations. Through the magnificent diversity of those who minister, show the world that there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
We also pray for the families of those who minister
- Protect them from the wounds that come from overeager scrutiny within the community.
- Renew within them a recognition that their value does not come from one family member’s role. Rather, each member of the family has a distinctive calling, contribution, and voice in Christ’s kingdom.
- Purge from them stifling legalism that crushes the spirit; rather grow within them a spirit of grace and graciousness that is refreshing and different.
- Give them respite from the relentless demands of ministry, affording them opportunities to enjoy Sabbath together.
And for those ministers who follow the apostle Pauls injunction to remain unmarried as he is, May you raise up friends and companions who will meet their needs for companionship, affection, encouragement, and tenderness, and who will meet these needs in a wise, wholesome, and Godly way.
Lord, we thank you for all those you call to serve as ministers. May you pour out your blessings upon them and their families.