Archive | October, 2020

Intercession – The Church’s Power for Ministry

by Larry Glover-Wetherington

I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:1-3 NLT)

As I observe the prayers of the Apostle Paul, I notice that he asks for prayer that he might have opportunities to share the gospel; he prays that people may be established in their faith; that they may experience the fullness of the good news; and that they will not be deceived by others perverting the gospel. He prays against “the principalities and powers” of the unseen world. As in the scripture above he agonizes in prayer over the new churches. Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.(Gal 4:19 NLT), and he prays that they will make disciples. Paul’s ministry is baptized in intercessory prayer.

It is in intercessory prayer that Jesus finds his highest calling. In his heavenly ministry, Hebrews 7:25 says, he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

This is where the church finds its highest calling as well. It is through the intercessory prayer of the church alone that the church can participate in God’s work, and nothing avails without it. This is that part of abiding in the Vine where Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing”.

There is so much that needs prayer, it is easy to be overwhelmed to the point of not praying. Where do we begin? How do we proceed? I believe the clue is to pay attention to our heart.
My wife and I routinely watch the evening news. I have noticed at the end of the hour that I usually have a deep sense of grief and sadness from the reports of the pandemic, immigrants in multiple places in the world, some for political reasons, some fleeing persecution. Numerous wars and conflicts are ravaging people’s lives, and there is the continual racial injustice in our country. It occurred to me one evening that instead of just being sad and feeling like there is nothing I can do, perhaps the sadness is God’s way of calling me to compassionate intercessory prayer for God’s suffering and broken world.

These thoughts in the blog above are from Rev. Larry Glover-Wetherington, one of our associate partners in ministry living in Durham, North Carolina. He has served in various churches positions across the Southeast. For more information about how he can help you, contact him at director@TransformYourMinistry.com.

Prayer – Christ’s Intention for the Church

by Larry Glover-Wetherington

The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:1-2).

The Greek word for “pray” here means to ask, beseech, plead, implore, make request, pray with a sense of urgency. It is in the middle voice, which indicates that we are to be in a continual back and forth conversation with God about God’s mission. When we read in the Gospels everything Jesus said about prayer, and when we see what the gospel writers said about how Jesus practiced prayer, we can only conclude that Christ intended for the work of the church to be done by prayer. The disciples made the connection between Jesus’ prayer and the wondrous things he said and did.  Let’s note just some of those observations.

THE ROLE OF PRAYER IN JESUS’ MINISTRY

Early in Jesus’ ministry Luke says, But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray (Luke 5:15-16).

On yet another occasion, the disciples noticed Jesus in prayer: He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples (Luke 11:1).

Jesus explained the central purpose to his prayer life. He said, I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does (John 5:19-20a).

How did Jesus see what the Father was doing? He saw it through prayer. That’s how He did his work in ministry; that’s how he intends for the church to do its work. It is only through prayer that we can discern what God is doing, and how God is inviting us to join in what God is doing.

THE ROLE OF PRAYER IN THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH

We also need to note how the early church went about its ministry through prayer. Our record of the church for its first 70 or so years is the book of Acts. The opening scene is Jesus giving the disciples final instructions before he ascended to heaven. He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit, and he said to them, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8).

As they began to experience persecution, Peter and John were put in jail overnight and ordered never again to preach in the name of Jesus. After their release, they reported everything to the church. Luke says, So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them. (Acts 4:24). They began by hallowing God’s name. Then they proceeded to tell God what the religious authorities had said, and they closed their prayer with this request, Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:29-31).

We find Peter later going up on a rooftop to pray, and he receives a vision and ultimately a command to go to Cornelius’ house. He goes, and the Holy Spirit falls upon the Gentiles, just like the Day of Pentecost That event caused a big controversy, and Peter goes to Jerusalem to explain. I can almost hear him, saying, “I was just minding my own business and praying, but let me tell you what happened.”

Space does not allow me to recount all the other instances of the church in prayer in the book of Acts, not the least of which was the launching of Paul’s missionary journeys. Just like Jesus, the early church came to understand what they were to do and say as they heard it and recognized it from God. Luke does not conclude the book of Acts. There is the assumption that God’s mission would continue, and that the church would continue to do its work through prayer. Perhaps during this time of being restricted by the pandemic, the church can engage the ministry of prayer. After all, God is not quarantined.

These thoughts above are from Rev. Larry Glover-Wetherington, one of our associate partners in ministry based out of Durham, North Carolina. He has served in various churches positions across the Southeast. For more information about how he can help you, contact him at coach@TransformYourMinistry.com.