Prayer and the Burden of Leadership

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We must not underestimate the burden of leadership. In 2 Cor 1:8–9, Paul says, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed we felt we had received the sentence of death.” While he speaks here of troubles in Asia, such pressure is a reality in any spiritual leadership. Elders, pastors and leaders here at Wellspring have shared with me about debilitating physical ailments, being woken in the night by nightmares, sensing significant oppression, overwhelmed with painful accusations, and much more experienced in far greater ways during their ministry here.

Why would God allow people, especially those who serve the church (!), to feel such a large burden of leadership? Does He not promise that his yoke is easy and burden light (Matt 11:30)? Yet Paul continues in 2 Cor 1:9, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” We carry impossibly heavy burdens so that we can rely on resurrection power.

Yet these burdens are not to be carried alone. Paul sets his hope on God “as you help us by your prayers” (2 Cor 1:11). Paul keenly knows his own need for prayer and repeatedly calls for that prayer from others. His desire is that “many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of man” (2 Cor 1:11).  Prayer really works, and we pray for one another.

So what?  Pray for your church leaders. By saying that, I do not sleight the burden of leadership in all other spheres. Yet today my focus is on the need for prayer for church leaders, those leaders who pray for and equip the saints for the work of ministry. Pray for your elders, your governing board members, your deacons. Pray for your pastors. Pray for me. While the burden feels impossibly great, his power is supernaturally greater, a power that raises the dead.  Let us walk together in prayer. Let us pray tonight and lift up our burdens to God together. And let us know his power that can raise the dead.

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