With news of another moral lapse by a member of the clergy upon my return from Haiti this week, I feel compelled to remind my prayer partners to ramp up your prayers for your pastor and staff. C. Peter Wagner reminded us back in 1992 in The Prayer Shield that pastors need more intercession for five reasons: 1) They have more responsibility and accountability; 2) They are more subject to temptation; 3) Pastors are more targeted by spiritual warfare; 4) They have more influence on others; and 5) Pastors have more visibility. Faithful and intelligent intercession, Wagner wrote, can release them to be all God wants them to be.
Pastor, I urge us all to maintain moral integrity in the ministry. When one minister falls, we all fall. Satan is in the attack mode. Let us heed the words of the Apostle Paul: This is our boast, he wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:12, Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. There is nothing more satisfying than to be able to say that we minister from a clear conscience. Paul was affirming that no one can point a finger of accusation at him because he conducted himself with moral integrity. You will never be above temptation and we dare not boast, This will never happen to me!
Lay people, members of the clergy are not invulnerable. They are not immune from temptation. Your intercession for us helps build a hedge of protection around us. While it is the ministers responsibility to keep a close watch on his or her spiritual temperature, your intercession can help us do this. Please pray this month that pastors will guard their minds and hearts. Rick Warren has written, The battle for sin always begins in the mind. Always! If you lose the battle in your mindyour thoughtsyouve lost the battle. Pray that our pastors will Keep (their) head(s) in all situations (2 Timothy 4:5). Also, that they will take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Pray that God will remind our clergy members regularly of the damaging consequences of moral failure.
Pastors, heres a final tip from Rick Warrens toolbox: Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. There should never be even a hint of sexual immorality. Lay people; pray that our pastors will never put themselves into a position where they can be tempted. 1 Peter 5:8 says, Be careful, watch out for the attacks from Satan your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion looking for some victim to tear apart.
I hope you will come to Lake Placid tomorrow for Improve Your Serve where we will spend our time talking about ways to protect our children and young people from Satans predators. This is a necessary part of taking the precautions to protect our kids. See you there.
David F. Nixon, D.Min.
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