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How Should A Prayer Leader Build Their Pastor Into a Prayer Champion?
Members of the "Prayer Leaders" forum on Pray.Network have ben asked to respond to this question.
Their replies, indicating their insights, experiences, lessons learned, are below.
We invite you to add your feedback to their comments . . .
I have a lot of thoughts about this. Some come from being in situations where people do not fully see the need of deep intercessory prayer. Some come from when I have been encouraged by pastors who did encourage me. That encouragement is esstential to anyone involved in prayer.
I will start with the assumption that if I take time to encourage my pastor, he will respond positively. First--he must sense that you are not pushing 'your' agenda--but honestly seeking on finding ways to come alongside of him and leadership in prayer. That step can be the start of building a relationship that can help your church grow in the Lord.
A pastor, hears so much, and that can distract him from a good course. So--take time to pray that God will open his heart to genuine praying--not just alone--but with others.
I will limit my comment to that for now--in about 2 weeks, I will have opportunity to apply what I just wrote with a pastor who is just starting at my church.
I agree with Lewis. I think this has to start with praying for the pastor. Someone has said that we need to talk to God about men before we talk to men about God, and I think that applies in this case. God may be doing a number of works in a pastor's heart and in the church, and we need to pray for sensitivity to the Spirit (for both the pastor and us) with regard to the place that prayer should have in that.
I think we'd all agree that prayer is foundational to fruitful ministry; without prayer, we serve only in our own limited strength. But what that might need to look like in an individual church, or exactly what the pastor's role in that should be (both visibly and behind the scenes) probably looks different in different churches. We need to be very careful not to assume that the particular image we have of "prayer champion" is necessarily the one that God would put on the pastor's heart.
I think that our prayers should be along the lines of asking God to give the pastor His vision for what prayer should look like in the church and what the role of the pastor should be in that.
I personally would be very hesitant to come with a "Thus says the Lord to the pastor..." type of approach. If I were going to have a conversation with a pastor about this (after much prayer), I would lead with questions. I'd ask the pastor what his vision for prayer in the church is and how he views his role. If I have a recognized role in the church as an intercessor or prayer leader, I'd also ask his vision for how my role fits in. I'd want to set it up as a partnership more than asking the pastor to execute on my particular vision for prayer and for the role of a pastor in that. I'd want to draw out of the pastor the vision that God is giving him (with the implication, of course, that the pastor is actually seeking God for that vision). I would ask how the pastor believes I can help bring his vision to fruition.
I'm a firm believer in honoring the church's recognized leadership - pastors and elders - and as a result, I would start with the assumption that the pastor's vision for prayer is the mark we're shooting for. I would be consistently praying for God to refine and expand that vision, but I would not want to work outside the vision that God gives His chosen leader. I'd be happy to offer input if asked, but my oen personal approach would not be to insist on any particular path (or even to suggest one unless asked).
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