Our church has had a unique privilege over the last handful of years. Several of our young people have sensed God’s call into the full-time ministry of the word, and have begun (or are about to begin) theological education of various kinds. To be able to nourish and encourage a number of future pastors, biblical counselors, and missionaries is more unique than perhaps we know, and is a signal evidence of God’s kindness to our congregation … for which we should greatly praise Him! What will they all become? How mightily might God use them? And how might our little church have had the privilege of helping them along the way?
This weekend we have the joy of hearing one of those potential future ministers preach to us ... for the final time before he and his wife head off to Southern Seminary at the end of July. Their leaving prompts me to ask the question: ‘How should we pray for them?’ Indeed, how ought you pray for such young (or not so young!) people in your church? Some of what I will say below pertains particularly to a new couple just embarking for seminary. But most of it also applies to all of our young people (and yours) who are preparing for ministry in various forms of theological training.
So how do we pray? Over two weeks’ worth of articles, we’ll think about both the nuts and bolts, and the far more important bigger pictures:
1. Pray for their finances. Going to school as an adult has its peculiar challenges. No longer are mom and dad footing the bill for food, and clothing, and rent, and so on. And yet studying for ministry usually means that full-time work is hard to fit in. But part-time work means that finances can be tight. If and when children come, even tighter. So pray for young people who are away at school, preparing for ministry, that God would supply all their needs, according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
2. Pray for a church home. Seminary is richly rewarding spiritually. Strong and lasting friendships are made. But not every Christian (thankfully!) is a seminary student who knows the difference between supra- and infra-lapsarianism! And young men who will soon be pastors need to remember that. They need to remember all that richness that comes from the whole body of Christ, not just the few oddballs who are called to be the teachers! They need, in a word, a church family! Their wives need this desperately, too! They don’t get to make the friendships their husbands do in the classroom. So pray that our future ministry families would find and sink their lives into good, godly churches!
3. Pray for a godly, wise pastor. Not everything about ministry can be learned in the classroom. Lectures cannot fully teach you what it is like to stand beside a deathbed, or counsel a rebellious child, or lead a pre-marital counseling session, or be a godly husband, or interview a baptismal candidate. So young potential pastors need models who do it right. Pray that the Lord would give them to our students, in the aforementioned churches.
Tomorrow, Lord willing, we’ll fill out our list of prayer requests. But I hope, even before then, you’ll begin praying!