Selected, Connected, Directed
Matthew 6:13 (NASB)
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
1 Thessalonians 5:25 (NASB)
Brethren, pray for us.
Todays Faith Fix is sponsored by the Holy Ghost in conjunction with the Father and also the Son. Folks, the time is short! What time am I talking about? The opportune time. Ephesians 5:15 exhorts us to make the most of the time because the days are evil, meaning that time can be against us if we are not careful. Distraction is a ploy of the devil to keep us from accomplishing what God has for us. Until the time of this writing, I never saw the connection in the above scriptures.
In fact, I never truly realized just how much the apostle Paul sought the church to pray for him. As I awoke this morning with these things on my heart I was astounded at the connections the Lord made for me and ultimately for you.
Leading us not into temptation was always a concept that confused me until God showed me some things that literally blew my mind. Why would I need to pray to God for such a thing? Is He tempted to lead me wrong if I don’t ask Him not to? Certainly not! We have to remember that we find the fullness of direction in the abundance of scripture. It can be a dangerous thing to cherry pick scriptures because we like the way they sound without balancing them with others. When you do that, and many people do, you can literally make the Bible say anything you want. Ever wonder why there are so many ideas about the same Book?
Consider for a moment a few scriptures. 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” Also, Hebrews 13:7, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Scripture is clear that God chooses over and over to use mankind to do His work. Though God leads us by His Holy Spirit, His method of doing so is often through another man or woman. This is true throughout the whole of scripture. We simply cannot be fully in God’s plan apart from the connections we have in the local church! When we pray to not be led into temptation or you could say trial or adversity, God is not talking about by His Spirit but by our leaders. This of course could be by governmental leaders but also by our spiritual ones, our pastors and the other ministry gifts.
I want to share another important scripture in this vein. 2 Corinthians 1:11 says, “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.” Let’s break this down a bit. Paul was seeing great trial here, to the point of wanting to die. As a leader of two churches for several years now, I have experienced this many times. There are times when the heat is really turned up and I have felt like I could have written these scriptures myself. This idea of thanks being given for the gift is speaking about people rejoicing because of the preaching of the Word that changes lives and the leading of God’s spirit through these ministers. Yes, Paul coveted the prayer support of people and even though my ministry is not nearly as far reaching as his, I covet these prayers also. Did you know that effective ministry is impossible without it? Jesus said to pray for leaders, Paul and Peter said to pray for leaders, and I’m telling you we need to pray!
It’s easy to complain about what we don’t like, especially when it comes from another human. I remember feeling just this way when God corrected me. I was mad about something my spiritual leadership was doing that I didn’t agree with. In my spirit I heard, “Instead of complaining about them you could pray for them!” It wasn’t a gentle nudge either! Did you know that each of us will be held accountable for whether we pray for them? Yes, the Bible warns about not becoming a teacher of people flippantly but to do so with great care because there is harsher judgement. That doesn’t mean however, that those being led will not be judged. We are all stewards of the gifts we are given, we will all answer for them!
So what should we pray? Ephesians 6:19 says, “and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness (one translation reads fearlessly) the mystery of the gospel.” Also Acts 4:29-30 says, “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” We need to pray that we be led into the place of exactly what God wants to see His church doing recognizing that He is going to do it through people. We also need to pray that we and our leaders are delivered from wicked and unreasonable men (2 Thessalonians 3:2).
I urge you, if you do not pray for your leaders, now is a great time to start. When we realize the need for leadership, and even more so good leadership, we should then recognize the need to uphold them in prayer. If our leaders do it wrong it’s as much our fault as it is theirs. Brothers and sisters I urge you a second time, pray for those God has connected you to. Help to fulfill His work through the hands and the mouths of the people God has placed in your life. Be delivered by the power and faithfulness of prayer!
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NASB)
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.