A prayer for discouraged ministers (and others)

Charles Spurgeon famously talked to his students about what he called “The Minister’s Fainting Fits.”

The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.

Here is a prayer (a verse from Isaiah) for all those ministers, preachers, pastors etc., who have ever been, are now, or might one day be discouraged.

You may recognise it as one of the “Servant Songs” in Isaiah, songs relating to a Servant figure who is sometimes referred to as Israel, but who at the same time is distinct from the nation of Israel. Christians understand the concept of the servant to be fully fulfilled in the Messiah, Jesus.

In this song (Isaiah 49), the Servant expresses Elijah-like discouragement. His work seems to have been in vain, doubtless because the people to whom he has ministered have not listened to him. But he is prepared to entrust the outcomes to God who goes on, in verse 6, to promise that his Servant will become “as a light for the nations”; through him God’s salvation will reach to the furthest part of the earth.

So if you are one of those people I mentioned, walk through this Servant’s prayer: acknowledge your discouragement, entrust the outcomes of your ministry to God and don’t give up. Only God knows the extent of your part in his plan.

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