Prayer for Christian Leaders

Prayer for Christian Leaders

Earley states, "God does nothing in ministry apart from prayer.” Certainly God responds to His servants when they pray, but is Earley's statement too encompassing and simplistic? Does God act only in concert with His servants' prayers? Must He wait until prayer occurs, or is God free to act as He chooses?

Charles Spurgeon wrote in his lecture, The Minister’s Self-watch, that the word of a pastor who is not in good standing with God may be blessed for the conversion of souls, while the pastor himself will be dishonored.[1] I take that this could mean that pastors who are not faithful in their prayer lives may still see God work in their ministries for the sake of the sincere souls, who are underneath their care, but they will not reap the heavenly reward on judgment day themselves. Nevertheless, Earley’s statement should be taken with all seriousness because a person who is called by God to shepherd His people should be in constant communication with the One he/she is doing the work for. The Bible tells us to put on the whole armor of God so that we can be properly suited to fight against the enemy. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).[2] In order to be fully prepared to go against the enemy, a pastor must stay in constant contact with the Commanding Officer who is also our Commander in Chief. No soldier can succeed in battle without having communication as to know where to go and how to proceed. It is the same way with prayer in ministry.

The enemy already hates those who are for Christ; therefore, he uses whatever weapon he can to come up against the men and women of God who are leading God’s people. If he finds that the minister is not active in prayer, his chances of successfully penetrating the ranks is a lot easier than it would be with a praying minister. We are to stay in constant prayer for God’s people and for ourselves so that we may be effective tools used for the building and edification of God’s kingdom. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18).[3]

James E. Rosscup says that a pastor should not neglect the importance of the armor – especially prayer when it comes to ministry.[4] Prayer gives the ministry legs. If a person does not have legs, they may be able to still move, but it would be very challenging whereas legs gives us more flexibility, saves time, and allows us to move more quickly. Prayer moves in ways that we cannot as leaders in the body of Christ independent of it. God can do what He wants to do because He is God, but He gave us the best weapon that we can have to use for His glory and that is prayer. The Bible says, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).[5]

So, is Early correct that God will do nothing in ministry apart from prayer? I will not say that this statement is the rule of law in all cases when it comes to ministry just for the mere sake of the souls who are involved. Nevertheless, God gave a rebuke to those who did not seek His counsel during the Prophet Jeremiah’s day and we must be careful to not fail at seeking God’s counsel today for our ministries through prayer. “But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds” (Jeremiah 23:22).[6]


MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville: Thomas Nelson,

Inc., 2005.

Spurgeon, C. H. Lectures to My Students: Complete & Unabridged. Grand Rapids, Mich:

Ministry Resources Library, Zondervan Publishing House, 1989.

[1] C. H Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students: Complete & Unabridged (Grand Rapids, Mich: Ministry Resources Library, Zondervan Publishing House, 1989), 10.

[2] Eph. 6:13 (New International Version).

[3] Eph. 6:18 (New International Version).

[4] John MacArthur, Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005), 131.

[5] James 5:16 (King James Version).

[6] Jeremiah 23:22 (New International Version).

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