June 27, 2012

How to Pray for Theological Students (Part 2)

Yesterday we began compiling a list of ways to pray for young (or older!) people from who are in the midst of preparations for a calling into full-time ministry. So far we've said that we should pray for:
  1. Their finances. Seminary days can be tight.
  2. A solid church home … where all that the local church is and should be will come to light and be a blessing.
  3. A godly, wise pastor … who can provide hands on training and example that cannot be picked up in the classroom.
But there are still more ways to pray. Let me now finish out my list of seven:

4. Pray for their studies. That is why we send them away to school is it not? To learn things that they cannot fully learn without concentrated time and effort. So pray for our students, that they would not simply pass classes and earn a degree, but truly receive an education! Pray that, in every class, their desire would be to learn everything they can, and provide themselves with the best toolkit possible before heading off into ministry.

5. Pray for their personal walks with the Lord. Studies for ministry can (and should!) be personally enriching! Indeed, woe to the would-be gospel minister who thinks that learning theology is not exciting and spiritually invigorating! But there is a difference between studying theology for the classroom and pulpit, and reading the Bible for your own soul’s delight, simply because you need, as George Mueller said, to begin every day “happy in Jesus.” So pray for our students – that they’d love their studies, and find their souls as well as their minds enlarged thereby. But pray they’d also cultivate a deep personal friendship with Jesus in the devotional closet.

6. Pray for their future spheres of work. The previous requests have to do with what would be ministers need while they are still in school. These last two have to do with the life of ministry beyond … for it is never too early to begin praying about what someone will be! So pray that way for our theological students! Will  he be a pastor, a missionary, a seminary teacher?  How will God use that young lady in women's ministry, counseling, or working with children?  What will it look like to be a ministry wife? Ask the Lord to specifically prepare these young people for the specific spheres of service to which He will guide them … even if they themselves do not yet know what they may be!

7. Pray that they will finish well. A few weeks ago we considered, in these very pages, those wise words of King Ahab “Let not him who girds on his armor boast like him who takes it off” (1 Kings 20.11). How well they apply to the work of the gospel ministry! The young folks we have sent away in recent years are just now beginning to fit themselves into the armor that will equip them, Lord willing, for many years of service. And it’s a wonderful and praiseworthy thing! But not half so wonderful and praiseworthy as if they make it to the end, still wearing the armor, and fighting the good fight! So pray that they will! Pray that they will finish well, and keep the armor on, until that day when they remove it for the last time, and hear those words we all long to have spoken to us: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

O, I plead with you … do pray for those who are preparing for gospel ministry! Who knows what blessing they may be for the kingdom, and how much they will need our support!

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