Ministry, Spirituality and Prayer

praying kneelingI’m presently reading Creative Ministry by Henri Nowen. And he said something interesting in his introduction–“Ministry and spirituality can never be separated.” And then later on he writes “Prayer is life; prayer and ministry are the same and can never be divorced.” And that gets me to thinking about ministry, spirituality and prayer.

I tend to spend about 20-30 minutes of prayer and reflection each morning during the week. It’s part of what I do. I can’t seem to start my day without reading scripture and doing my devotions and journaling. It’s like a spiritual cup of coffee. It gets me going. My day is incomplete during the week if I don’t do this. And all three are connected.

I truly know that I have been called by God to be a pastor. I truly know that he has made my calling known. And it is a calling. It’s not, as Nouwen states, an 8-5 job. It’s not something that is done just during the day. It is a lifestyle. It is something that exists and is part of it all. It is a calling because it takes all of who you are and places it in a jumbled mess for everyone to know and to see. It’s a calling because it takes you to places you never thought you’d go.

Ministry is something that is messy. It takes a person with a hide of a rhino to handle ministry. And I’m not always one to say I have the hide of a rhino. I don’t always have it all together. I’m what I call a cracked pot. I’m not right. I’m not always going to do the perfect thing.

So this thing called ministry takes a lot of prayer. And as Nouwen correctly states, prayer is life. It is part of what you do. It is part of who you are.

Now here’s the thing: Not just pastors are called to do ministry. We all who call on the name of Jesus are called to do God’s kingdom work. We are called to serve as he calls us all to follow him. Each one of us is called and given the tools we need when we need them to do God’s ministry, God’s work. Pastors are the ones who are given a bit more to handle and to lead and to help equip. The rest of those who follow Christ are to do what they can for the ministry using what they’ve been given. And this is also a calling. A calling to follow Christ. A calling to serve Jesus. A calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

It isn’t just the Pastor’s job to do this but everyone’s job to do this. And it can only be done through prayer. Prayer connects us to God. Prayer connects us to Jesus. Prayer enables us to listen to God and to walk with Jesus. But without prayer, none of this ministry can happen. None of it can take place. And without being connected to Christ, none of this can happen. Without being in the Spirit, without following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, can we do God’s kingdomwork, God’s ministry.

And so, don’t divorce prayer and ministry, don’t separate ministry and spirituality. They are together. They are part and parcel of serving God, serving Christ, following the Spirit.

How can you listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? How can you follow Him? How can you walk with Christ today? How can you do the ministry you are called to do? Do it. Do it today without delay and you will find it amazing what God will and can do. Don’t separate prayer and ministry, spirituality and ministry. Let them be together hand in hand, as you do His kingdomwork.

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