One of the greatest sermons ever preached on American soil was proclaimed by early American pastor Jonathan Edwards. The title was “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and the message had tremendous impact as it helped to spark the revival movement known as “The Great Awakening.”
When Edwards preached, he read from a manuscript that he held close to his face. He was plain-spoken with hardly any animation. There was no eye contact with his listeners.
Yet, while he was describing man’s need for salvation, it was reported that a man jumped from his seat and ran to the front of the church screaming, “Stop, please stop, lest I slip into Hell.” He was so convicted that he could not wait until the end of the sermon to be converted. Other worshippers grabbed hold of the pews in front of them and cringed in conviction. The movement of God was obvious and powerful.
On Friday night, just before Edwards preached this particular sermon, a group of adults were so burdened about the spiritual condition of their neighbors that they came together to pray for their unchurched community. They intended to pray for just a little while, but before they realized it, the sun was coming up and they had been praying all night long.
Looking back, people who study great awakenings firmly believe that there was a direct connection between Edward’s preaching on Sunday and the people’s praying on Friday. Praying for your ministers is critical. Prayer is a great work, and a great contribution to the work of ministry.
If they could, my guess is every pastor would echo Paul’s sentiments and say, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;”