LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
Manage Your Subscription – Subscribe/Unsubscribe  Contact Us About Your Subscription

Hillcrest Church Office
July 1, 2004

LeaderLines is a weekly “e-briefing” providing valuable information and inspiration to those who serve at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

Do you know friends who would appreciate LeaderLines?  Just forward this e-mail to them!  Have you subscribed to LeaderLines?  You can subscribe by logging on to Click here and following the instructions.  Your e-mail address will not be sold or given away to anyone, and you can automatically change your subscription or drop it by following the easy steps provided with each e-mail.

Here is this week's LeaderLines. . . .

“Lord, Listen To Your Leaders Praying”
by Tom Goodman

Don't forget about our special "Fourth of July Celebration" this Sunday!  After Sunday School at 9:30 a.m., there will be ONE COMBINED morning service.  We will be inspired by the words and music of the choir's presentation, "Sweet Land of Liberty" at 10:45 a.m.  Send an e-card to your friends and invite THEM to join you for this special Sunday.  Go to www.HillcrestAustin.org/ecard.
Church leaders pray for those they lead.  It was true in the first-century church—is it true in the twenty-first-century church?  Do you pray for those you lead?

Many New Testament letters include the leader’s prayer on behalf of those he led.  Consider the opening prayer in Ephesians 1:16-19:

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Here’s Paul’s prayer from the opening verses of Philippians (1:9-11):

And this is my prayer:  that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Again, imagine the leadership heart behind the prayer we find in Hebrews 13:20-21—

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.
Other leadership prayers can be found in Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:3-6; Colossians 1:9-12; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 and 3:11-13; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 and 2:16-17 as well as 3:5, 16.  Those scriptural prayers would be good ones to look up and pray on behalf of the people you lead.

My favorite example of a leader who prayed is Epaphras (pronounced “EP-ah-fras”).  When Paul wrote the Colossian Christians, he said in 4:12 that Epaphras was “always wrestling in prayer” for them.  We don’t know much about this New Testament character, but he was clearly on of the leaders of the Colossian church.  We read in 1:7 that he was “a faithful minister of Christ” through whom the Colossians had come to believe.

And Paul wrote that he often observed Ephaphras “wrestling” in prayer on their behalf.  The Greek word is agonizomenos—can you hear the word “agony” in that Greek word?

When I reflect on Epaphras, his example always convicts me.  How about you?  Do you pray for those you lead, and could your prayers be described as agonized wrestling against principalities and powers?

Richard Foster said it best.  He said that if we love people, we will desire for them more than we can give them, and that will lead us to prayer.  As a Hillcrest leader, I hope you’ll be part of our day of fasting and prayer each Tuesday in July.  And join us for prayer in the Worship Center between noon and 1 on Tuesdays if you can.

Twenty-first-century church leaders need to look like the first-century church leaders.  So, to amend the words of an old black spiritual, “Lord, listen to your leaders praying.”