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Pastors Note: I Need Prayer


I hate sensationalized headlines. As a former journalist, I find such “click bait” quite frustrating. But I decided that the headline above isn’t sensationalized; it’s just true. I need prayer. I haven’t received a bad medical diagnosis; I love my wife; I’m thankful to be at Southwood. I need prayer. That statement is always true, but since I’m asking you particularly to pray for me now, I’ll tell you at least a couple places my awareness of that has been coming from recently.

In the past few months, I’ve lost several people (to death or other circumstances) who prayed for me faithfully – my grandmother, several Southwood members, friends – you know, the kind of people who pray for you all the time and when they tell you they’re praying for you, you know they mean it and you know God hears them. Many of them were decades ahead of me in life, but they loved to pray and would pray for anything.

I’ve felt and seen the impact of their prayers, sometimes in very specific ways, whether I’ve been in Huntsville or in India, and what a great blessing and encouragement that has been to my heart. And so I feel the ache of not being able to call or visit them and know they’re praying. One of the things I’m praying for more lately is for God to raise up a new generation of “prayer warriors” who plead with the Father for our Church and his kingdom.

Another reason I’m asking is my own struggle with prayer. I’ve shared a couple times in recent sermons how longing to be with God – to talk to him and listen to him – hasn’t been easy many days. Many of you have told me you know what that feels like. Thanks. So if you’ve been there, you know one of the hard dynamics is that it can be hard to pray for your own prayer life! It’s helped me realize how much I need a Gospel community to pray for me when I can’t do it for myself.

Maybe the feeling is exacerbated by yet another birthday rolling around, but I often feel inadequate – as a husband, a father, a pastor, a person – and want to do more or figure life out. And these feelings of inadequacy swell when I’m struggling to pray, when I’m not depending on God as I know I should, when I’m overwhelmed but not willing to cry out to Him. The sense that I need God but am not running to tell him about that is one I’ve felt many times recently. So having people who do for me what I can’t do for myself at times is a great gift.

After all, I think part of why I’m asking for prayer is that it’s another normal day in the midst of a broken world full of spiritual warfare, right? As Paul wrote in the Bible and many others have experienced since, we need constantly to be praying because our struggle is against powers stronger than our own strength and much weaker than our God’s. I rightfully feel many days that the battle is pressing in and I can’t seem to win even small victories on my own. In that battle we are all always in, we all always need to pray for one another.

So, thanks for your prayers. If you keep a list, I’d love to be on it … permanently! I’m so thankful to be a part of a church family that expects their pastor to need prayer rather than ridiculing him for it – and who really does pray for me – what a great gift! The even better part I’ve experienced again recently is a Heavenly Father who keeps pursuing me, keeps warming my heart to be with Him, and keeps welcoming me back over and over with his grace that is sufficient and his power that is made perfect in my weakness!