I was thinking the other day why I haven't been praying all that much in my ministry lately. I know it's not a good thing to do, but I couldn't quite figure out why. After all, i want the work to thrive and I want people to know Jesus. I honestly have this desire. Am I just ill-disciplined? Am I no good at praying? So I spent a little time reflecting upon it.
Firstly, it struck me that a lack of prayer reflected a lack of dependence. This insight did not come as a shock. I could easily see that my lack of prayer shows that I'm not really thinking rightly about who God is. It means I don't feel a sense of His greatness and love and generosity.
Secondly, if I dug a little deeper I could see that this was rooted in unbelief. My heart was fundamentally unbelieving - the promises of God, the achievement of the gospel was not meaning all that much to me. This was a bit more of a shock. After all, it's not good to have unbelieving minister is it?
Thirdly, the real shock came when I saw that it wasn't just that I lacked dependence and was unbelieving, but I was actually depending upon other things. It wasn't that I had given up on ministry and wanted to find something else to do, rather I was trying to do God's ministry whilst relying upon something else for power and grace. It was not difficult to see that what I was relying upon was my own gifting, power, resources - and partly also other people's plus a little bit of 'luck.' Now, I would never come out with something so crass and obviously boastful as "all the preaching, ministry and evangelism in this church is rooted in me, it comes from me and my gifts." After all, I normally 'pray' before/after sermons and on other public occasions asking for God's help!. But actually my heart was saying that it was all about ME! If I thought it all came from God, I would pray. As I think it comes from me, there is no need to.
Yes, as you probably guessed, I have had some repenting to do.