Though prayer is a staple of the Christian faith, there are times in Christian ministry when more intensity in its exercise appear to be needed. Sometimes, in the course of this kind of work, it seems that a certain kind of spiritual heaviness pervades the atmosphere. Such was the case for me yesterday, a Sunday, in the location of my work.
For one thing, the weather was particularly dark and wet for the whole weekend. Clouds and rain contributed to a sense of oppression. And the work itself seemed a bit heavy — the delivery of the message, the engagements with others, and the overwhelming sense of personal need in dealing with the church’s situation at this time. By the end of the day, and quite early in the evening, I felt exhausted by the demands and prospects of what was involved in this situation.
Fortunately, I was able to go to sleep early and get a fairly restful and long-night’s sleep. In the morning, still not sure about how everything might unfold during the forthcoming week, or even the day, I took shelter in a time of Bible reading and prayer. My meditation happened to be from Psalm 25 and Numbers 19. The latter was not particularly inspiring except to emphasize the heavy ceremonial burden the Israelites had to carry in dealing with defilement of one kind or another as it tended to occur in the most ordinary course of life. My encouragement in that passage was the amazing mercy and grace that has been extended to us (and specifically to me) in the work of Christ on the cross and in His resurrection.
Psalm 25, on the other hand, was significantly more encouraging speaking of the refuge and strength that come from relying on the Lord in time of our need. I was especially taken with the words of Vs 14, and 15: The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.
After reading the Psalm and meditating on it for awhile, I prayed that the Lord would rescue me from the traps of the enemies I sensed in my heart and mind at this time. I spent more time in prayer for family, friends, and ministries. And then I journaled a bit about it all.
Well, as the day unfolded, I was amazed by how the burden of my work and sense of foreboding, lifted! God gave clear direction on what I should do. I had several wonderful and meaningful meetings with people during the course of the day, and there was a clear sense of God’s presence and blessing in my work. As the day went by, it began to have a kind of golden glow to it. I came back to my abode, early in the evening, quite buoyed by how it had all unfolded.
Yesterday, I had little energy for thoughts about writing a blog of any kind. But today, I found I had energy and inspiration to write — because God had met me in a special way in my morning prayer.
Often, the way in ministry feels quite overwhelming. Little do we realize that the reason may well some sense of spiritual conflict because the Enemy is pressing to disengage us. In such times, it’s important to consider that we tend to me vulnerable to temptation and unhelpful sidetracks. Thanks be to God that He has provided a wonderful resource in prayer that effectively overcomes our Enemy. May God help us to avail ourselves of this great resource more readily.