“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4 ESV)
So the apostles devoted themselves to two (2) things: The Word and prayer.
As pastors, teachers, elders, or members of a church, are we devoted to both of those things in our service and ministry?
I must confess that I spend much more time in the Word (reading, translating, writing sermons, preaching, etc.) than I do in prayer. Not saying that the split needs to be 50/50, but it is doubtful at times that the time that I spend in prayer would qualify as being “devoted” to it. Perhaps this is true of you and your work of ministry as well.
The point is not that we should break out the stopwatch when we pray. The point is that if the Apostles themselves knew that they needed to pray in order to be faithful and effective ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we certainly need to come to that realization as well.
Why don’t we pray? Sometimes it is hard work, isn’t it? For some of us it is hard precisely because it is not work. We feel like we need to be doing something.
We also don’t pray because we don’t think that we need to pray. We have deluded ourselves into thinking that we are quite capable, thank you very much! We think that we can handle things just fine. But who among us is really capable or sufficient when it comes to the ministry of the gospel?
The Great Commission is such a huge task that we should feel overwhelmed. And if we feel overwhelmed and insufficient, we will cling to the promise of the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) – the promise that He will be with us in the work of making disciples of all the nations (v.20). And we will pray.
By God’s grace, let us be diligent students and ministers of the Word. But may we also be diligent in prayer. It is an equally important aspect of our ministry.