Bp. John Guernsey on Intercession and “Standing in the Gap”

September 10, 2012

I just came across a good teaching / exhortation about intercessory prayer written by Bp. John Guernsey and posted on the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic’s webpage. I’ve posted it in full below.

Towards the end of the teaching, there is also an announcement about a workshop on intercessory prayer being held in Woodbridge, VA on November 10.   I’ve had the wonderful privilege of meeting, getting to know and praying with Rose Marie Edwards-Tasker, and strongly encourage anyone in the D.C. area or reasonably close environs to attend!  –  Karen

Standing in the Gap

Dear Friends,

A wise pastor once taught me, “Prayer is not preparation for the battle. Prayer is the battle.” The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 6 that the conflict we face in this world is fundamentally a spiritual one. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (verse 12).

“Put on the full armor of God,” Paul tells us (verse 11). We’re in a spiritual battle. The enemy is the devil and his demonic forces, not flesh and blood, not human beings, no matter how much people annoy us or hinder us or hurt us. The real enemy is in the spiritual realm and so the enemy must be fought wearing spiritual armor and wielding spiritual weapons.

Paul exhorts us to put on the elements of our armor: truth and righteousness and the readiness of the gospel of peace and faith and salvation. He tells us to use the use the Word of God which is a mighty sword in the battle. But then he goes to emphasize the part of our spiritual equipment that, in my experience, is often overlooked: prayer, and in particular prayer for those in spiritual authority over us.

He says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (verses 17-18). God provides for us and protects us as we cry out to Him in prayer. Everything about our life and ministry—for ourselves, our families and our churches—rests upon a foundation of prayer.

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From IX Marks: Holy Spirit Led Ministry

March 24, 2012

An absolutely awesome article recently appeared at IX Marks.  I refrained from posting it sooner because of wanting to keep the focus on Lenten Devotionals.  But this is a wonderfully challenging piece which should give us lots of “food for prayer” as to whether our ministries or acts of service are being done in our own power, or truly led by the Holy Spirit:

Excerpt from Is There a Holy Spirit, by Bobby Jamieson


“Is there a Holy Spirit?” I can think of few better questions to ask in order to assess whether our ministry strategies are faithful to Scripture.

You could put it like this: if there were no Holy Spirit, would your ministry work just as well?

What are you trying to accomplish in your ministry? Is that goal something that can be attained without the Holy Spirit?

What means are you using to carry out your ministry? Are they strategies and techniques that sociology, psychology, and common sense can fully explain? Or would your ministry methods prove utterly futile if the Holy Spirit didn’t sovereignly decide to work in and through them?

It’s easy to see, for example, how the promise of wealth will draw a crowd and convert them to your team. Same thing for the promise of better relationships, fewer conflicts, lower stress, or a better self-image. It’s easy to see how consummate presentation, engrossing music, and pleading appeals can generate adherents to whatever cause you’re promoting.

But none of these things need the Holy Spirit to make them work. All those strategies and messages can get along just fine without him.


But let’s put this positively. What does ministry that depends on the Holy Spirit look like?

It looks like preaching to dead people and praying that the Holy Spirit would give life as only he can (Eph. 2:1-3). It looks like shining the light of the gospel as brightly as you can, and praying that the Spirit would give people eyes to see it (2 Cor. 4:6). It looks like aiming for things only the Holy Spirit can give to people: new loves, new hearts, new lives, new selves.

What means does the Holy Spirit use to give new life? God’s Word.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). The Spirit causes us to be born again “through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23).

Therefore, Spirit-dependent ministry is by definition Word-centered and Word-driven ministry. Ministry that believes in the Holy Spirit trusts the Spirit-inspired Word to do the work God has promised it will do.

Praying for others in Lent – a prayer for those burnt out or struggling in vocational ministry

March 9, 2012

Another prayer by Pastor Scotty Smith. This prayer encourages us to pray during Lent for any we know in vocational ministry who are discouraged, burnt out or struggling.

The full prayer is here.

Here’s a portion of the prayer that I really appreciated.

But others are living some version of Jonah’s story. In their heads they still know you to be a God who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. They still own the lyric of the gospel, but have lost its music. In their hearts they’re angry and disconnected. Running away to Tarshish has never looked so good. The ministry feels like an unfair set up to them. Jesus, you seem to be asking too much.

Still others are living a chapter from Jeremiah’s ministry. They feel betrayed. No course in seminary prepared them for how broken the church really is; how un-glorified your people really are (including themselves); […]

Meet these dear servants of yours right where they are. Comfort them with your compassion. Grant them a renewed perspective of eternity. Rekindle hope in their hurting hearts. Refresh them with whatever means of grace you choose.


+John Guernsey: The importance of prayer warriors

August 4, 2010

The Rev. Steve Wood in South Carolina has had a series of “guest bloggers’ recently at his blog Treading Grain. Yesterday the guest blogger was ACNA bishop +John Guernsey, with a fantastic post on the importance of prayer warriors and intercessory prayer, especially for clergy.

Here’s an excerpt, but please read it all!

We are engaged in a spiritual battle and our adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Clergy experience attacks:

Attacks on finances

Attacks on health

Attacks on marriage and family.

Attacks of fear and doubt.

Clergy need prayer. Yes, we must be people of prayer ourselves. That is vital. But we also urgently need the prayers of others. As leaders, we need to view prayer cover the way the infantry views air cover. We have to fight the battle on the ground, to be sure, but we’d be foolish to try it without that canopy of covering in the heavenlies.

For too many years, I failed to grasp how important intercessory prayer cover is for my ministry, for my family, for me. But I have repented and I’ve become very intentional about recruiting and encouraging those who faithfully and sacrificially pray and fast for me, for my family and for my ministry.

Such prayer support is not just for clergy. In the parish I served as rector, we would urge everyone who took on a ministry or leadership responsibility to seek out personal intercessors who will commit to pray for them and support them in their ministry as a member of the Vestry or as a Sunday School teacher or as a short-term missionary or youth group leader—whatever their role. It really is OK to ask people to make an intentional commitment to intercede for you.

The full text is here.

A prayer before preaching the Gospel

August 2, 2010

Baptist blogger Trevin Wax has an awesome prayer posted in his blog Kingdom People, which he calls a “prayer before preaching the Gospel.”

Here’s what he writes about this prayer: This has been my prayer every morning as I have worked on my upcoming book on the gospel. I’ve tweaked it to make it useful for pastors and church leaders who will be proclaiming the gospel today. May we never forget what an awesome privilege it is to preach the good news!

In addition to praying it for ourselves whenever we have occasion to speak and teach about the Gospel or engage in some kind of ministry or outreach, perhaps we can regularly prayer this prayer for the pastors, preachers and teachers that we know.

Here’s an excerpt:

Be ever gracious to me.
Let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding.
Give me confidence in the power of your gospel.
Grant me clarity in understanding and proclaiming the truths of your Word. Edify your church through this work.

Father Almighty,
empower your people to tell the gospel story,
to recount your wondrous deeds
which shine light on your glorious and holy character.

Lord Jesus Christ,
empower your people to announce the good news
that you have brought to earth the life of heaven,
that you have sacrificed yourself for sinners,
that you have been raised from the dead
and exalted as Lord over all creation.

Holy Spirit,
empower us to live in light of the gospel,
declaring its truth with our words,
and embodying this truth through our actions.
Give us love for you and love for one another.

Please go read and pray the whole thing. It is a lovely and deep prayer.

Some ideas to help you pray for your clergy

July 6, 2010

From Fr. Tim Fountain in South Dakota who has been a past blogger here at L&B and remains a faithful friend and supporter of this ministry:

Please pray for your clergy, and for yourselves. We need God’s help and we most assuredly need one another’s.

Pray for all Clergy:
Ask the Father to show us great mercy, to make us aware of the great mercy we receive, and to make us witnesses to His mercy.

Ask the Son to touch us with kindness whenever we are discouraged by our hypocrisies.

Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire our gifts for faithful work and to make our personal qualities fruitful.

Pray for all Lay People:
Ask the Father to cleanse you of any lurking paganism – any ways in which you say, “My clergy do holy stuff (prayer, Bible reading, caring for others, etc.) so I don’t have to.”

Ask the Son to honor you by revealing what part of his body, the Church, you are.

Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of all that Jesus said and did, and to guide you into understanding.

You see, the humbling and healing of clergy depends in part on the glorious rising of all the people – not as our “employers” or critics, but as awesome Christians in your own right. As one chosen, flawed preacher told a congregation:

For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?

The full text is here.

Prayer for priests

May 17, 2009

By Mother Louise Margaret de la Touche, shared by one of our readers–

O Jesus, Eternal High Priest, divine Offerer of Sacrifice, Who, in an incomparable transport of love, for men, Thy brethren, didst allow the Christian priesthood to issue from Thy Sacred Heart, deign to continue to pour out on Thy priests the life-giving streams of Infinite Love.
Live Thou in them; transform them into Thyself; render them by Thy grace the instrument of Thy mercies; act in them and through them, and grant that, having been completely clothed with Thee by the faithful imitation of Thy adorable virtues, they may perform in Thy name and by the strength of Thy Spirit, the works which Thou Thyself hast accomplished for the salvation of the world.
Divine Redeemer of souls, see how great is the multitude of those who still sleep in the darkness of error; count the number of those unfaithful sheep that are walking on the edge of the eternal abyss; consider the crowds of the poor, the hungry, the ignorant, and the weak, who are groaning in their state of abandonment. Return to us by Thy priests, live again in very truth in them; act through them and pass again through the world teaching, pardoning, consoling, offering sacrifice, renewing the sacred bonds of love between the Heart of God and the hearts of men. Amen.

Our pastors

September 11, 2008

Lord, keep my pastor in the fear of God. Let my pastor not fear people (Proverbs 19:23). Give ______ boldness to confront sin and church controllers. Honor my pastor’s stand for You. Come to my pastor’s rescue. I claim Psalm 35 for my shepherd.

Our pastors

September 10, 2008

Lord, as You have promised, grant my beloved shepherd lasting fruit (Malachi 3:11, John 15:16). Let my pastor’s converts become disciples who in turn disciple. Bless my pastor with disciples who grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Our pastors

September 9, 2008

Lord, by Your Holy Spirit, anoint ________ to preach, and bring apostolic results (Acts 2:37). As my pastor speaks the Word, let signs and wonders follow, confirming it (Mark 16:20). Let the sick be healed; let the oppressed be set free. Anoint _____ with the truth (Matthew 16:17). Let people be cut to the heart and accept Jesus Christ.

Our pastors

September 8, 2008

Our Father,
As ______ preaches, let him proclaim Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:28). Let my pastor’s preaching be in the energy of the Holy Spirit.

Our pastors

September 7, 2008

Dear Lord,
Bless my pastor with rich study time (Acts 6:4, 2 Timothy 2:15).

Our pastors

September 6, 2008

Our Father,
I stand against the enemies of my pastor’s prayer life: “busyness” (Acts 6:2-4), compulsions, compromise (Acts 5), unnecessary phone calls, chronic counselees, fatigue, sleepiness (Matthew 36:41), appetites, television, late meetings, over-commitments, and doubt. Let nothing hinder ________’s time with You. Let my pastor rise up to seek You (Mark 1:35), pray with other pastors (Acts 1:14), and pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Give my pastor the time, the desire, and the place to pray (Acts 16:16). I rebuke in the name of Jesus any distractions from my pastor’s devotional life.

Our pastors

September 5, 2008

Our Father,
With my shield of faith we cover our shepherd’s mind to quench all flaming darts of doubt or vain imagination or mental distractions (Ephesians 6:16, Colossians 2:6-8) Let the mind of Christ be strong in my pastor (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Our pastors

September 4, 2008

Our Father,
Grant our worship leaders a zeal for Your Holy Word. May my pastor lead us in worship that magnifies Your Holy Name. Keep my pastor from the traditions of men and religion which hold the form of godliness, but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5). Give ______ a vision of heaven (Isaiah 6, Revelation 4).

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