Prayer is the common task of ordinary Christians. Maybe you’ve heard someone say at a missionary conference, “Some can go, many can give, all can pray.” Yet there are some in the church who are set apart for a ministry of prayer. According to Acts 6:3–4, prayer and preaching the Word were the two fundamental duties of church leadership.
As the early church grew in numbers, its cultural makeup became more diverse and its administrative responsibilities more complex. When the needs of some widows were overlooked, the church brought the matter to the apostles. However, the apostles declined to take on the responsibility. They directed the congregation to choose seven people known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom to address the concern (v. 3).
This was not because the apostles felt the ministry was unimportant. The decision was a matter of ordering their priorities. To take on this important ministry would not allow them to give their attention to prayer and the Word. Any person can pray. All Christians should pray. But some believers are called by God to engage in prayer to an even greater degree. Pastors and church leaders have a responsibility to pray for the flock they serve. Some Christians have a special passion that enables them to devote themselves to prayer more than others. Some are in a life situation that enables them to spend much of their time praying for others. Others have taken prayer as a spiritual vocation.
The seven who were chosen did more than oversee the church’s ministry to its widows. Stephen was also a dynamic teacher. Similarly, those who have been called to a prayer ministry often do more than pray. The apostles prayed and taught the Word.
>> How can you know if God has called you to a special ministry of prayer? The only way is to begin praying. If you would rather pray than do anything else, you may be called to such a ministry.
First, we thank You for gifting some with a passionate focus on prayer. Second, we ask You to fill them with the Holy Spirit and to bless their prayers. Third, we ask You to call more to this spiritual vocation.