“On Your Mark”
A Praying Ministry (Chapter 6 Verses 45-56)
The reason for the haste in departure and to separate the disciples (v45), from the crowd is because of their desire to take the Lord and make him king. So he takes his disciples off for further instruction no doubt. This popularity the Lord has to deal with is one of Satan’s temptations, and remember temptation for him was as real as it is for you and I. But this surely is a massive snare for anyone in public ministry, popularity (Luke 6.26). It ruins more preachers than anything else. In his sending the multitude away he overcomes the temptation. There is no limit to what God can do with a man, providing he will not touch the glory. Is this one of the reasons why he goes up the mountain to pray? In order to give thanks to his Father, for another victory? No doubt he would be pouring out his heart for the Apostles, that they will not be carried away by these people and with their wrong ideas about the Messiah. Here again we are given a glimpse of the prayer life of Jesus, that pure, perfect, exalted communion with his Father (v46).
Our praying is only as powerful as our lives. For some prayer is no more than an escape hatch, you know in times of trouble. It ought to be to us as natural to us as breathing. O for Christians to pray for the ministry of God’s word, as Jesus for his men. “Prayer, to the preacher, is not simply the duty of his profession, a privilege, but it is a necessity. Air is not more necessary to the lungs than prayer is to the preacher. It is absolutely necessary for the preacher to pray. It is an absolute necessity that the preacher be prayed for. These two propositions are wedded into a union which ought never to know any divorce: The preacher must pray; the preacher must be prayed for. It will take all the praying he can do, and all the praying he can get done, to meet the fearful responsibilities and gain the largest, truest success in his great work. The true preacher, next to the cultivation of the spirit and fact of prayer in himself, in their intensest form, covets with a great covetousness the prayers of God’s people” (‘Power through Prayer’. E.M. Bounds). With most of us there is too much business, too many people. A bit less work, and bit more solitude would be much more profitable to our souls, time with God. We would be less hard in heart, less cold in devotion to the Lord, and kinder and more tender-hearted to one another. Nothing spiritual is accomplished without prayer. Pray!
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)