Pointers for Preachers

Power, Effectual Prayer, De-emphasizing Statistics


"God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God" (Ps. 62:11). A question raised, though seldom in preacher-to-preacher discussions, is this, Where is the real power in the Christian church? Is it really in the elected officials, whatever their stand­ing? Well, few of them will deny their helplessness without the support of the many pastors and evan­gelists who man the outposts. "Aha," says the pas­tor-evangelist, "then the power is with me." The genuine pastor knows better, for where would he be without the laymen who carry the programs? "Well," boasts the layman, "then I'm the 'big wheel.' " Not according to Romans 10:14. According to this, the layman certainly needs his pastor. As for the power to hire and fire, everybody can get rid of somebody all along the line. Needed now more than ever is the wise counsel of the apostle Paul: "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. . . . And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are neces­sary" (1 Cor. 12:18-22). It is therefore a just conclu­sion that since everybody needs everybody else, in whatever branch of God's service a man may be, let him therewith be content. Let us brighten the corner where we are, for the church is so organized that one man can occupy only one corner at a time. Power? I thought David settled that. It "be­longeth unto God," said the psalmist, and it is dis­pensed to each man in his corner, according to his faith. Enjoying your corner? I like mine!

E. E. C.



This question has been submitted  to us: "Is a Sabbath school superintendent, or any other leader of public worship, justified in calling upon a member of the congregation at random to offer prayer? Should not such a one be informed in advance of the meeting?" This points up a real need of the true understanding of prayer.

Anyone who undertakes to address the Eternal God as a mouthpiece of the people should realize the responsibility he is assuming. Perhaps it is this realization and a feeling of unpreparedness that causes embarrassment and even fear to grip the heart of the one who is thus called upon.

Public prayer should be taken seriously even by the minister who has had much experience in this service. During a lecture before a group of church teachers in the Temple church, Los Angeles, Dr. Robert J. Taylor said: "Ask any man who knows and he will tell you that he spends far more time in preparation for his public prayer than he does for his public sermon. Praying is harder than preaching." Do we realize this?

Speaking to the congregation for God is a task that demands all there is of a man. But how much more taxing it is to speak to God for the congrega­tion! To choose someone in a hurry to offer a public prayer is not wise. If visitors are in the congrega­tion, especially those coming from well-ordered churches, they may receive very unfavorable im­pressions of the whole program. But even more serious, it is dishonoring to God. Therefore we should exercise great care in the selection of the one to offer the prayer.

If a member is asked at a moment's notice, he has little opportunity to prepare himself in heart and mind for this service. One's words and thoughts should really be the words and thoughts of the group, thus enabling all to open up their hearts to God. We are wise, therefore, to see that the one delegated to lead the congregation in prayer has been given ample opportunity to make his petition both appropriate and meaningful. "Lord, teach us to pray."

R. A. A.



The January 5, 1962, issue of Christianity Today carried a pointed comment on a tendency among "an increasing number of in­fluential churchmen to discount numerical data." Perhaps the craze to treat church life like a big business, to organize, analyze, and assess the church's success on the basis of percentages and financial achievements, is passing.

"In prospect for 1962," says the news note, "is a growing revolt against statistics as an index of spir­itual health. According to key observers of the religious scene, American church leaders are in­creasingly skeptical of arithmetical approaches to religious vitality." The kingdom of God would have been established long ago if "counting sheep" and massive organizing could do it. That is why ecumenicity with its massive world church concepts can never replace the evangelical fervor that con­cerns itself first with the souls of men. The churches must hold those they have reached, and also go out and win the lost, and when that is the case all else, including essential organization, falls into its proper place.

H. W. L.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

May 1962

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

The Minister's Wife and Her God: 1

Before the minister's wife is anything else—before she is her husband's compan­ion, her children's mother, her church's helper, the world's missionary—she is a child and servant of God, answerable to Him for her words and actions, dependent on Him for righteousness and grace.


The word outsiders should be eliminated from the vocabulary of ministers and laymen.

"Within the Shadow of Our Doors"

It is well said that New York City is as cosmopol­itan as it is possible to be. Here one finds representatives of practically all the citizens of the world. Indeed, it is a real challenge, for it is a mission field in itself.

The Office and Ministry of the Angel Gabriel: Part 1

The Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy frequently mention angels and their ministration on behalf of "them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1:14). Only rarely, however, are the names of these celestial beings given. As a matter of fact, in so far as the inspired sources of information are con­cerned, only three are mentioned by name. They are, Michael, Lucifer, and Gabriel.

The Baptismal Class

How can the preparation for baptism best be done?

A Physician and Minister Team for Church Revivals

One of the most interesting programs that it has been our privilege to work in has taken place in the Atlantic Union—a church revival in which a physician and a minister unite in bringing the message night by night. This has proved very effec­tive in awakening our people to the wonder­ful privilege of living a life wholly dedi­cated to God.

True Greatness

Certainly John the Baptist, during his extended and vigorous ministry, revealed that supreme greatness of a worth-while and noble life.

Hymn Singing as Part of Our Worship

We recently heard from an old friend who is steeped in hymnology, Pastor J. Harker.

Great Words of the Bible—No. 10: Propitiation in Relation to "Hileos," "Hilasmos" (d)

The writers of the New Testament were familiar with the books of the Old Testament. They probably learned to read them first in Hebrew, but in their adult lives they used the Greek translation known as the Sep­tuagint. Although this version of the Old Testament was not produced under inspi­ration, it serves as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - IIW-VBS 2024 (160x600)