Editorial: More Prayer . . . More Faithfulness
Recently, I was interviewing pastors to learn more about how their pastoral practices are influencing members to support the church financially. My aim is to establish a repertoire of best practices conducive to members giving. One of the interviewees gave me an interesting response: “Whenever I’m assigned to a new district, I make sure to have a list of all the members, and I apply myself to pray for each one for them to grow in faithfulness.” I was not hearing about visiting members, teaching and preaching stewardship, giving feedback, or sharing information about the beneficiaries of giving, which are tested conditions to improve giving. Instead, this pastor was telling me about interceding regularly for his members to improve giving. More prayer . . . more faithfulness. Does this practice make sense?
Apostle Paul, in his first coaching letter to Timothy, provides similar advice for his protégé to grow his effectiveness in ministry: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1–4, NIV). Using the tone of fatherly supplication, the master Paul introduces intercessory prayer, with its diverse manifestations, as a foundational practice for effective ministry toward every man and for the hard to reach. Intercessory prayer creates breakthroughs to lead people to salvation and embracing the truth. This is our shared goal as spiritual leaders.
We usually pray to be able to do more or to be more effective, but here Paul invites Timothy to intercede for God to do more, even where it is humanly unachievable. Ellen White reminds us about our sacred responsibility as intercessors: “Souls are to be sought for, prayed for, labored for. Earnest appeals are to be made. Fervent prayers are to be offered. Our tame, spiritless petitions are to be changed into petitions of intense earnestness” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 12). Application and determination are to characterize our prayers on behalf of those we serve. When we are regular and systematic in pleading for God’s people, we’ll see a new wave of regular and systematic givers rising high in God’s church. After praying, in many instances, God will use the one interceding as the human instrument to minister to those prayed for.
Three articles in this issue of the Dynamic Steward explore the relationship between prayer and faithfulness. Don MacLafertty discusses how to create a local community that prioritizes prayer. Wagner Almeida shares his experience in launching a mega prayer movement from a local church. Julian Archer has developed an elaborated sermon outline about how prayer protects and transforms us into faithful individuals. Among the other great articles, I would like to highlight the third article of a series of four on offerings from Dr. Félix Cortez. If you have missed his previous submissions, they are available in our archive ……………………….
May God bless you and your ministry.