Dear Friends,

It is not a Christian problem, it is a human problem, but it is a human problem that many Christians have, especially pastors. The problem is being a people pleaser. You want to please people too much. We are afraid to say no. Since different things please different people we are always shifting and dancing around. We feel guilty or even threatened if we do not please.

Pastors do not always recognize this as a problem in their lives, but when we do recognize the pull the people pleasing has on us, then we also know that it is a problem, not a virtue. A Christian should have more secure identity in the gospel. We should be more principle. We build our lives on the solid rock, not shifting sand. So one very helpful thing you can pray for pastors is that they be free from people pleasing, and become more and more grounded on the solid rock of the gospel.

What does all of this have to do with praying for success? Pastors teach and preach. Our sins and failings can form how we preach, what we preach on, and what we say. When we struggle with people pleasing our teaching on prayer can be effected. We teach people to be too limited and careful in their prayers. You see, people pleasers often hope their problem will be solved by having people only make good and wise requests. Requests we would normally want to say yes to. By the way this hope is a vain hope. A type of magical thinking that we mistake for wise growth. Anyways, pastors can unwittingly project this personal dynamic onto God. So we teach people to pray for the right things, why? Because we unconsciously worry that God struggles with people pleasing and we want to help him out.

So what am I saying? That we should not try to grow in what we pray for?  Yes and no.

First, God is almighty and eternal, he has no needs, he never struggles with people pleasing. This means we do not need to worry about asking for the wrong thing. God is wise and good. He will know when to say no. And no human being or institution or movement can wear him down. He can say no all-day, every day. This is not to say he only says no. He also says yes and not yet.

Second, from the above we see why being honest in prayer seems to be more important to God than trying to formulate perfect prayers. So pour your heart out to God. He already knows what you think, desire, fear, and hope in. So come honestly, ask for the raise, the success, the stuff, the victory. He already knows your heart. Do not pretend. Be honest. Err on the side of more prayer.

Third, ask him to help you pray, teach you to pray, guide you in prayer. This is not a contradiction to what I have said earlier. It is a natural outflow of building a relationship with the living God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; three persons, one God forever and ever, Amen.

Daniel with Christine and Jonathan with Reneé, will be in Calgary for a final assessment by the C2C church planting organization this Tuesday through Thursday. Pray as you see fit. Please pray for them and for Messiah. Pray they do well and pass. Most of all please pray that C2C, Jonathan, Reneé, Daniel, Christine, Messiah, and the Bishop are united in correctly discerning the Lord’s will. Pray that the Lord will guide and provide and use us to raise up new gospel-shaped and gospel-proclaiming, local churches.