Praying for Preachers & Pastors

2 Thessalonians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 1:11
       Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.
       Ye also helping together by prayer for us.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): I observe that some Christians are very ready to censure ministers, and to complain of their preaching—of their coldness—of their unfaithfulness. God forbid that I should ever defend unfaithful preaching, or coldness, or deadness, in the ambassador of Christ! May my right hand sooner forget its cunning! But I do say, where lies the blame of unfaithfulness?—where, but in the want of faithful praying? Why, the very hands of Moses would have fallen down, had they not been held up by his faithful people.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Conscientious ministers are public blessings, and deserve the prayers of the people.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): And therefore let all men pray for those who are thus ordained to be teachers and ministers of the Word, for it is a singular gift of God when we have such shepherds of our souls as are able to guide us well. Wherefore let it be known both to small and great, that to maintain the Church in her estate and in her soundness, God must give strength to those whose duty it is to teach, and men must pray for them, for in so doing every man procures his own good and his welfare.

MATTHEW HENRY: In praying for faithful ministers, people in effect pray for themselves―and the more earnestly the people pray for their ministers the more benefit they may expect to reap from their ministry. They should pray that God would teach those who are to teach them, that He would make them vigilant, and wise, and zealous, and successful—that He would assist them in all their labours, support them under all their burdens, and strengthen them under all their temptations.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Ministers and people need each others’ prayers, and it is a mutual duty they owe to one another. Ministers are obliged by special office, people by common duty, with respect to the success of the Gospel in general, and in their own edification by their labours. The apostle [Paul], as he did not think it below him to call these Thessalonians brethren, so neither to beg their prayers. Those that stand highest in the Church may stand in need of the meanest and lowest; the head cannot say to the foot, I have no need of thee.

MATTHEW HENRY: Ministers stand in need of their people’s prayers―ministers need and request it. Paul, though an apostle, did so with much earnestness, Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:18,19; 1 Thessalonians 5:25.

JOHN CALVIN: Though the Lord powerfully aided him, and though he surpassed all others in earnestness of prayer, he nevertheless does not despise the prayers of believers…He does not say this by way of pretense, but because, being conscious to himself of his own necessity, he was earnestly desirous to be aided by their prayers, and was fully persuaded that they would be of advantage to them. Who then, in the present day, would dare to despise the intercessions of brethren, which Paul openly declares himself to stand in need of? And, unquestionably, it is not in vain that the Lord has appointed this exercise of love between us—that we pray for each other…And if we are negligent in this, it is a sign that we set no value either on our spiritual life, or on the common welfare of the whole church.

MATTHEW POOLE: Those that preach not the Gospel may yet promote it by their prayers.

MATTHEW HENRY: The least may in this way be helpful to the greatest.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): How many people pray before they go to a service that the Spirit of God might come upon the preacher and use him and his message? The hearers, as well as the preacher must pray for that, otherwise they are looking to him and to his message. No, all together must look to God and realize their utter dependence upon the power that He alone can give.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Oh, that many of them would learn to lean less on ministers, and to pray more for the Holy Spirit! Oh, that all would learn to expect less from schools, and tracts, and ecclesiastical machinery, and, while using all means diligently, would seek more earnestly for the outpouring of the Spirit.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): I have not, in times past, in my prayers, enough insisted on the glorifying of God in the world; on the advancement of the kingdom of Christ, the prosperity of the Church, and the good of man.

EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): I have been endeavouring to establish amongst us what are called “Aaron and Hur Societies”―little collections of four or five or more persons, who meet before service on Sabbath morning to spend an hour in prayer for a blessing on the minister and the ordinances. They began on New Year’s Day, and we seemed to have an immediate answer, for the meeting was unusually solemn, and we have reason to hope that the word was not preached in vain.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE: It is prayer that gives preaching all its power.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): I do not believe there is any true revival that is not brought about by a good deal of prayer.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Oh, my dear friends, pray for all the ministers of Christ, that God would make them more abundantly useful. Ask for us more liberty in speech, more unction on our heads and in our hearts; ask for us a greater intensity of agony on account of the souls of men; ask for us greater earnestness in prayer. Pray for us that we may be masters of the sacred art of wrestling with God. Pray for us that a revival of religion may come into this land.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Until we find a stirring of the work of God among ministers, we cannot expect to find it among the people. Pray the Lord of the harvest, pray for students, that when they come out they may say, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” And when it is on upon them, the whole world will be set on fire of love―but it will never be, until the Spirit of God is poured out upon the sons of the prophets.


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