By T. W. Barnes
Ephesians 6:17: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
This one thing we must understand: the devil hates ministers more than any other people on the face of the earth. Why? Because a sinner cannot be saved without a preacher. The devil knows that with no preachers there will be no revivals, no churches, and no crowds around the world worshiping the Lord.
The devil knows and I know that if every preacher on earth would be killed tonight and God didn’t call any more, the people would go into the dark ages, never to come out. The laity could not carry the church on. They are the sheep; the Bible teaches the sheep would be scattered without a shepherd. The wolves would come and devour and destroy them. There would be no churches to worry about. How can we have revival without preachers? We can’t. How can the church survive without apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers? It cannot.
The Lord said He set all these ministers in the church for its perfection. It cannot be perfected any other way. This is why the devil has focused on the ministry. And that’s why I have chosen to tell you how to pray for your pastor.
The apostle Paul–one of the greatest apostles of all time–asked the church to pray for him. The Lord Jesus Christ in John 17 prayed for his preachers to be kept from evil and be sanctified through the truth. He prayed they all might be perfect in One. Then he prayed they might behold His glory. A preacher who does not seek to behold His glory will not go very far. The devil will do everything in his power to keep him from reaching the place where he can behold His glory.
Jesus prayed for the chief apostle, the Apostle Peter. He said to Peter, Satan has desire thee to shift you as wheat (just to tear you apart) but I have prayed that your faith fail not. When you pray for your pastor, pray that his faith will never fail when it comes to preaching the Word and believing the almighty God.
Matthew 26: 36-38: Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then he saith unto them. My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Would you disciples–the best, the chosen inner circle–would you pray for me? Would you kneel down here; I am really heavy, loaded down even unto death; my heart could even stop. I am so heavy and burdened and sorrowful. Would you just pray with me?
Verse 39: And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying. O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto his disciples, and he findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
I need you so bad; I am so lonely; I am so depressed; I am so full of sorrow; I just need somebody with me to help me just a little bit. This was the Preacher of preachers, the Prophet of prophets, the Chief Apostle, the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, but He needed someone to pray with Him.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done (verse 42). He wasn’t trying to shun anything, but in a little while the sins of the whole world would be poured upon Him–He would feel every dirty, low-down, rotten sin the human race had ever committed or ever would commit poured right on top of Him. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eves were heavy” (verse 43).
When you begin praying for your pastor when the battle is raging, it will be a struggle; you’ll get tired and your eyes will get heavy and Satan will fight to keep you from surrounding your pastor with a wall of prayer.
Verse 44-46: And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saving the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
It will be too late when you walk by the casket of your pastor to pray for him. He needs it today.
1 Thessalonians 5:25: Brethren, pray for us. (Paul and Silas)
We pray for everybody in the world; we pray for revival, we pray for finances; we pray for everybody and for everything but the preacher who wrestles under a heavy load day and night.
11 Thessalonians 3:1: Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you…
“We preachers need you,” Paul said, “to pray for us that the word of God flow through us; that it have free course–nothing hindering it.” Free utterance is a gift from God that enables a preacher to preach with nothing hindering him. It is like an artesian well flowing out of his innermost being, He does not have to battle alone–the church prays for him.
King David, a great warrior, went to battle, but he couldn’t fight it alone. The best armor bearers in all the army and in all the nation stood by his side. Had something happened to one of them, another would take his place. On and on as the battle raged hotter and hotter–great men fallen and cut down, yet they had hundreds to leap to the side of the king to stand and fight to save him.
In this battle today, we preachers need the old prayer warriors by our side. We appreciate every prayer warrior. Some have fallen in battle–you know about them, they used to be around the altar praying, but they have fallen in battle and have gone on to be with the Lord Jesus Christ on the other side. Who will step into their shoes? Who will rise up? Young man, young lady, today is your day, your time to grab your sword and stand by our side and let’s fight together. Let’s win this battle! We must; there is no turning back.
Ephesians 6:18-20: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Paul said to pray that be may make known the mystery of the gospel and hidden things might be made plain and the hearts of men and women be enlightened. Pray that I speak boldly, that I speak courageously without fear.
When your pastor is behind the pulpit and battling the forces of the enemy, he needs to know that be has the prayer warriors by his side. As he fights on and on, he knows they stand beside him.
Many people go back to school years after they first finished to get another degree. That costs something. A lady in my church went back to college to get a Masters Degree–she endured many hours of study, many hours of driving, many hours of listening. But her children have been blessed by it and her husband has been blessed by it.
When God sends his preacher or pastor to the “University of Hard Knocks”, He wants him to get another degree. The pastor is whipped and beat on every side. If you stand by and criticize while God puts him through this “university”, your bitterness and resentment will cause you to never benefit by the degrees–the gifts–placed in his life after his going through the “hard knocks”. Every pastor faces a time in his life when he has to climb higher.
I used to go to school with a boy named Bell. Bell went to school five years and never got out of the Primer. Every year he came back, we would ask, “Bell, what grade are you in?”
He answered, “Still in the Primer, but I got a new one.”
He never got out of the Primer; he quit while still trying to finish the Primer.
If we don’t climb when we get in the kingdom, we get bored. Like Bell in the Primer–we never get out of it; we never reach up. We just stay right there and get sick of yourself–sick of our prayers, sick of looking at yourself–the same old thing year in and year out. Any preacher worth the salt that goes in his bread wants to grow. But to do so, he must go back to the “University of Hard Knocks”.
I remember over thirty years ago all across the country, in long healing lines people would say, “Nervous breakdown.” I prayed for them a little, sent them on and thought, That is just all in their head But I want you to know since I went through the university and got my degree, I have spent hours on the telephone–long distance–helping some poor soul in a break down. I don’t pass them by like I used to.
When you have sat where they sit and have worn their shoes, you’ll understand and take time to talk to them. We should be able to learn without going through that university, but we just don’t seem to grasp or understand until we do.
Pray, “Oh, Lord, teach me how to pray for my pastor; teach me how to pray for his family.”
You would be surprised at the preachers quitting the ministry. More preachers quit than in all other professions. They can’t handle the pressure, the picking. They can’t handle having no one to pray for them and back them. They can’t handle what is happening to their children.
Pray for your pastor’s family, lest they grow up, become bitter, backslide, and be lost. That will hinder your pastor. He has to be a real prayer warrior to keep walking when these things begin to happen.
During a great battle the children of Israel noticed as long as Moses held his hands up, they could easily win. When he grew tired and his hands would drop for a rest, the enemy would rush in and hurl them back. The men finally caught on. Our leader needs help. If we win this war, we must hold his hands up. They got on each side and held his hands up and the battle was won. But suppose they hadn’t and the enemy would have won. The families back home would have suffered. They would have been killed and the children dashed to pieces. But someone caught on and held the preachers hands up and they won the battle.
When you pray for your pastor now, he will be able to win the battle for you later on!
Pray that God will raise up mighty prophets. I look at the world and the sin and shame and the evil and the abortion and the perversion and Hollywood and video and television and rock music blasting out on the radios. The devil has taken everything– the printed page he’s taken for pornography. I back up sometimes and say, “God, surely the old world wasn’t as bad as this one. They didn’t have all these vehicles and different things to sin with.”
He said the church makes the difference in the world today. We need to pray that God would raise up mighty prophets like Noah who not only can hear from heaven but also can build.
Noah–a prophet–a preacher, saved the human race. Did you ever stop to think we wouldn’t be here had God not found Noah? He would have wiped out the human race. He would have had donkeys, zebras or something else, but no humans. But an old preacher listened to God and obeyed. Once again a preacher saved the human race.
Don’t ever think it was easy to build the Ark. Noah worked 120 years and preached ‘a flood is coming” when it never had rained. There had never been a flood; the creeks had never overflowed: the rivers had never overflowed their banks. Now a preacher says a flood is coming and will drown everyone–the whole world will drown. Everything and everybody will die.
They mocked, made fun of, called him an old fanatic. His kids would no doubt say, “Dad, are you sure you heard from God?” it seems everybody is prospering but us. In the big church way up on the hill, the preacher laughs at you every Sunday morning and says you are just an old foggie–it has never rained–nothing in the Book says it ever will.”
But if they had known the flood would come they would have been hollering, “Noah, hang on, boy. Keep on telling us how to build this. You are the fellow with the blueprints.”
It had to be built exactly like God said. He told him how many feet long and how many feet wide and how many feet high and said, “Don’t you add an inch or take one from it; do it like I say or under she goes.” If you had been there you wouldn’t be saying, “Noah, I don’t think you have to build it that long; I don’t think you ought to build a cage over here for the skunks. I think we ought to leave them outside.” I tell you one thing, my friend, if Noah hadn’t let the skunks in, be would have drowned with the rest of them. When God says something, He says it, and He means every bit of it. Had you been there, you would have said, “Hang on, Noah; my life is in your hands. Don’t pay any attention to that bunch of fanatics out there. Don’t pay any attention to the Charismatic and liberals that say you can do anything in the world you want to do–and still make it. Build anyway you want to build. Use anything.’
No, my friend, when the flood came, the hills weren’t high enough–their boats weren’t big enough. A storm raged, hurricane winds raged. But one old boat with eight souls rocked away with the old preacher inside. The old preacher inside saved the human race.
If this human race is turned upside down and revival comes it will because some true blue preachers won’t bend or bow. They tell it like it is.
We need a lot of Abrahams today. Nothing could move his faith. He had unwavering, unmovable faith–irresistible faith not planted in what he could see. His faith was not in the calendar.
“Sarah is ninety and I am one hundred. It’s all over–no kids on this hill–it’s all over.” But Abraham staggered not. “God said it, I believe it; I am hanging in there.”
“What does your name mean, Abraham?”
“It means the father of many.”
“Where are your kids?”
“Don’t have any. But one day they will be like the sands of the sea and the stars of the heavens. Talking big, but my God is a big God.” Since that time hundreds of millions of Jews have come and gone.
Yes, Lord, give us 10,000 Elijahs right here in America. As he called Baal and all the false prophets out, lie said. “How long halt you between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him. If Baal, follow him. The one that answers by fire, that is the one we will worship.” And when he prayed that little short prayer of about sixty words, the heavens opened and the fire fell. We need miracles from mighty prophets in America today to shake us.
Does it work when you pray for a preacher? Jesus prayed for Peter. He told him someone will have to carry you around. In Acts 12:5: Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
They had just beheaded Apostles James the day before. Peter, James, and John were the top men of the inner circle. The devil slips in and wipes one of them out because the church wasn’t praying. But they got down to business when they heard Peter was in jail. Herod planned to do the same thing to him that he had done to James. But prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Did it work? He was bound; sixteen soldiers were there to watch him. Herod knew these fellows had a name for getting out of jail. So he chained him and put all these guards there, but the angel smote them and they fell fast asleep. He spoke to Peter and marched him through the old iron gate that just swung open, and they walked out into the street and Peter was free. It worked.
Men begged for prayer everywhere Paul and Silas went; they begged the church to pray for them. Paul and Silas had the name of turning the world upside down. The church prayed; they took them at their word. Acts 17:6: …these that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.
Then in Acts 19:11: And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: He went beyond the ordinary gifts of healing into special miracles of healing. If ever we need some special things happening beyond the ordinary, we need it today. Acts 20 reads so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. This is Paul and Silas preaching away and the saints praying. The Word of God grew mightily and prevailed. They had revival; they had signs; they had wonders; they had special miracles because the church stood by the preachers.
The Lord through Paul commanded Timothy to stir up the gifts. I don’t claim anything but the Holy Ghost, but I have seen a lot of sifts in operation in my life. I ask you to let me stir up the gifts to a white heat where they can operate–begin to move again. I remember the days that I could pray six hours, eight hours, even ten hours. A young fellow walked in my office one day just as I finished eight hours praying. He was about to go Charismatic. He didn’t understand many things.
I said, “Son, I just finished eight hours praying. If you will get alone with God and spend eight hours with him, you will know the truth and nothing but the truth.’ Today he is a fine preacher and pastor. I believe he took me at my word because the Holy Ghost was upon me that day in a mighty way.
I am eighty-three and don’t know (without the anointing) if I could hang in there eight hours or not now. I need help to stir up the gifts God has let operate through me over the years. It is never the gift; it is the Giver of the gift that works the miracle every time.
Take this seriously and pray for your pastor every time you pray. Don’t pray for revival without praying for the men who preach the revivals. Don’t pray for signs, wonders, and miracles without praying for the preacher they flow through. Pray that we might be bold and be yielded instruments in the hands of Almighty sod. You see if God calls a man he will use him if he stays in tune.
Make a resolution you will pray for your pastor. Pray he can be used by the Holy Ghost.
Excerpted from “Living In The Overflow” by T. W. Barns. Order from Voice Of Faith. First United Pentecostal Church, P.O. Box 702, Minden, LA 71058. Call: (318) 377-9517 or (318) 377-0390