Get e-book No Other Foundation: Exploring the Apostolic and the Prophetic Anointing

Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online No Other Foundation: Exploring the Apostolic and the Prophetic Anointing file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with No Other Foundation: Exploring the Apostolic and the Prophetic Anointing book. Happy reading No Other Foundation: Exploring the Apostolic and the Prophetic Anointing Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF No Other Foundation: Exploring the Apostolic and the Prophetic Anointing at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF No Other Foundation: Exploring the Apostolic and the Prophetic Anointing Pocket Guide.

Along with the prophet, they are the pivotal ascension gift ministries for the healthy functioning of the body and the releasing of the saints to the work of ministry Eph ; First, in the context of Roman colonial expansion, it was used to refer to the commander of a naval expedition sent out to establish a new colony; and secondly, to the whole fleet and colony which was founded by that commander.

The Holy Spirit has lifted this term from its classical context and embedded it within the sacred text to describe for us both the nature and function of the apostolic. Sent from God, the primary function of the apostle is to plant the colony of heaven on earth. This is far larger than just planting new churches. This is born through the corporate and plural nature of the apostolic. We have just seen in the original usage of the term the thought of leadership the commander and the corporate the fleet and the colonists.

Read More From Roderick L. Evans

While not teaching explicitly the corporateness of the apostolic ministry, the Scripture does teach it implicitly by way of a model. Through this corporateness the gospel spreads and the kingdom is expanded. His life and dynamic irrepressibly found expression in a company of intimates see Rom These men and women, while free, subordinated any individualistic pursuit of ministry, resulting not in an organisational structure, but in a pure and powerful demonstration of the body of Christ — of free men walking together in relationship as love-slaves to Christ.

After the ascension of Christ Peter, James, and John, all had their spheres of ministry from which flowed related movements of followers and co-labourers.

  • Apostolic-Prophetic Restoration in the 21st Century (Part 2)?
  • Wisconsins Natural Communities: How to Recognize Them, Where to Find Them;
  • Island of Glass and Ashes (The Malay Mysteries Book 3).
  • Navigation menu;

However, as significant as these men where I would suggest that there is one man and movement which is the normative model — the prototype. A man sent to the ethne — to all tribes, tongues, peoples, and nations see Acts His mission was universal — to ALL nations. Although, tradition later places John in Ephesus living out his days towards the close of the first century as an old and venerated leader of that church ; and Peter in Rome.

This was primarily an issue of call and revelation:. Because of his call to the nations God entrusted a unique revelation to Paul. This revelation was not received from any man, nor revealed to previous generations,. He did not receive it from Peter, James, or John. So, what was the revelation that others found so hard to understand — and what was unique about it? Certain individuals came from James in Jerusalem to Antioch demanding the Gentiles submit to circumcision.

If we are to understand the intent of the Holy Spirit in any given direction, we must go back to the first instance of that direction. This provides the model for all future development. To do this we must return to the city of Antioch. It was from here that the Gentile mission was born, becoming the true parent of the universal church. The action of the Holy Spirit in this city creates the DNA for the apostolic — it becomes the prototype for gospel expansion and kingdom increase.

Antioch, in Syria, the third largest city of the Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria, was a commercial and political hub. Close to the frontier between the Greco-Roman world and the Orient, it contained a highly cosmopolitan population. It was the gateway between West and East a city through which commerce, government, many nationalities, and belief-systems found access to larger geographical regions and spheres of influence.

The international complexion of the city and therefore of the church is reflected in its leadership —. As the master-strategist, in this melting pot of the nations, the Holy Spirit chose to give birth to the apostolic. It became the launch pad for the Gentile apostolic mission — for the colony of heaven invading earth. He sent, for example, John the Baptist into the wilderness; Amos was called from a small country town, and Jesus came from Nazareth.

Paul was also taken into Arabia for a season before his strategic placement in Antioch see Gal , God is restoring the church of the city. The coming worldwide visitation will be so extensive, and so, intensive, that one group will not be able to contain it. It will demand a new wineskin — the emerging city-church. The apostolic church knows nothing of our modern denominational divisions.

It was not denominated by theologies or celebrities, but by geographies. They were not in competition with one another. Evidently, the church, even in these large cosmopolitan cities, was functioning as one unified body. This in my view is not effectively different to our existing denominational divisions. Because we are in transition this deficiency is understandable. We are emerging from a sub- normal Christianity. And so, the fullness of the apostolic ministry will occur only in harmony with the restoration of the city-church. It will also demand that one serve the other, but more of this in Part 3.

As the parent of that mission, Antioch has imparted its DNA and will, therefore, play out in every authentic expression of the apostolic. This is the peculiar mission of apostles, prophets, and teachers who are set in the body as the spearhead of heaven coming to earth in a given locality see 1 Cor He was concerned to impart something of the Spirit to the whole church of the city that would add to their corporate maturity. His apostolic passion and purview took in the whole horizon of the city-church. He was not looking for recruits to grow his own network.

In Part 3 we will discover the role of prophetic worship, prophets, and teachers in releasing the apostolic. This is the birth of the apostolic. The heaven of heavens is love. There is nothing higher in religion; there is in effect, nothing else. If you look for anything but more love you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way. And when you are asking others, "Have you received this or that blessing," if you mean anything but more love you, you mean wrong; you are leading them out of the way, and putting them upon a false scent. Settle it then in your heart, that from the moment God has saved you from all sin, you are to aim at nothing but more of that love described in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians.

You can go no higher than this till you are carried into Abraham's bosom. According to the Articles of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene , sanctification is a work of God after regeneration "which transforms believers into the likeness of Christ" and is made possible by "initial sanctification" which occurs simultaneously with regeneration and justification , entire sanctification, and "the continued perfecting work of the Holy Spirit culminating in glorification ".

The Purpose of the Fivefold Ministry by Colette Toach

It is wrought by the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. In classical Pentecostalism, the baptism with the Holy Spirit is understood to be a separate and distinct experience occurring sometime after regeneration.

Influenced by the Holiness movement , baptism with the Holy Spirit was regarded by the first Pentecostals as being the third work of grace, following the new birth first work of grace and entire sanctification second work of grace. According to Pentecostal biblical interpretation, the Gospel of John shows that the disciples of Jesus were already born again before the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost.

They then cite biblical examples in the Book of Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19 to show that it was common in the New Testament for Spirit baptism to occur after conversion. In following the biblical pattern, they argue, Christians today should also pray for this baptism which results in greater power for ministry and witness.

With them it was not mere intellectual assent to some article in a creed defining an orthodox doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. Neither were they satisfied to acquiescence to a vague idea that in some indefinite manner the Holy Spirit had been imparted to them upon conversion. They gladly and thankfully recognized His gracious operations in their regeneration and sanctification, but their own personal reception of the Holy Spirit was an intensely vivid experience.

They knew when He came, where He came, and how he came. Nothing reveals this more than Paul's searching question to certain disciples whom he immediately sensed to be spiritually lacking in a vital part of their Christian inheritance—'Have ye received the Holy Ghost? The challenge was to experience, not to doctrine. How significant! An Ephesian 'Pentecost' speedily rectified their shortcoming, and it was an experience as vivid as all the rest had received—'They spake with tongues and prophesied. In Pentecostal experience, Spirit baptism can be quite dramatic, as shown by William Durham 's account of his Spirit baptism:.

I was overcome by the mighty fulness of power and went down under it. For three hours He wrought wonderfully in me. My body was worked in sections, a section at a time. And even the skin on my face was jerked and shaken, and finally I felt my lower jaw begin to quiver in a strange way. This continued for some little time, when finally my throat began to enlarge and I felt my vocal organs being, as it were, drawn into a different shape.

O how strange and wonderful it was! And last of all I felt my tongue begin to move and my lips to produce strange sounds which did not originate in my mind. In some accounts of Spirit baptism, Pentecostals report receiving visions, such as the account of Lucy Leatherman, an Azusa Street participant:. And as I praised, I came closer and closer and I was so small. By and by I swept into the wound in His side, and He was not only in me but I in Him, and there I found that rest that passeth all understanding, and He said to me, you are in the bosom of the Father. He said I was clothed upon and in the secret place of the Most High.

But I said, Father, I want the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the heavens opened and I was overshadowed, and such power came upon me and went through me. He said, Praise Me, and when I did, angels came and ministered unto me. I was passive in His hands working on my vocal cords, and I realized they were loosing me. I began to praise Him in an unknown language.

Charismatics trace their historical origins to the charismatic movement of the s and s. They are distinguished from Pentecostals because they tend to allow for differing viewpoints on whether Spirit baptism is subsequent to conversion and whether tongues is always a sign of receiving the baptism. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal believes that there is a further experience of empowerment with the Holy Spirit. Raniero Cantalamessa , "baptism in the Spirit is not a sacrament, but it is related to a sacrament…to the sacraments of Christian initiation.

The baptism in the Spirit makes real and in a way renews Christian initiation". During the s, another renewal movement emerged called the " Third Wave of the Holy Spirit " the first wave was Pentecostalism and the second wave was the charismatic movement. Third wave charismatics stress that the preaching of the gospel, following the New Testament pattern, should be accompanied by " signs, wonders, and miracles ".

They believe that all Christians are baptized with the Holy Spirit at conversion, and prefer to call subsequent experiences as "filling" with the Holy Spirit. John Wimber and the Vineyard churches are most prominently associated with this label. In the Latter Day Saint movement , the "Baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost" refers to the experience of one who undergoes the ordinance of confirmation with the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

It follows baptism in water and is essential to salvation. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Christian phrase. Further information: Holy Spirit in Judaism. Main article: Chrismation. See also: Confirmation in the Catholic Church. Main article: Regeneration theology. Main article: Christian perfection. Shepherding was in his blood.

Associated Data

In His presence, the psalmist asserts, goodness and love will always abound. So the first priority of every pastor is to give rest to those entrusted to him. From that place of rest and deep trust all other things that must be said and done appear in their proper perspective. Leading people towards this rest in God can be done through preaching, teaching and personal counseling. Most people regularly pass through dark valleys in their lives, and our job as a pastor is to give them rest and to supply them with spiritual food and water, so that their strength is renewed.

How wonderful it is to sit together at the feet of Jesus. As a pastor, always make this a priority in everything you do. But it also speaks of bad shepherds. In Ezekiel , God is deeply angry with the bad shepherds who should have been leading the flock of Israel in His name. This is the greatest danger facing both the shepherd and the flock: that the shepherd, and not the flock, starts to take centre stage.

In the rest of Ezekiel chapter 34, God clearly outlines the tasks of a shepherd. A good shepherd rescues his sheep from all the places where they are scattered on a day of clouds and darkness verse He searches for the lost, brings back the strays and has them lie down verse He binds up the injured and strengthens the weak verse He judges between one sheep and another verse This is how God takes care of His people, like a good shepherd.

And He wants every shepherd who leads people in His name to do the same. So we see that there are clear differences between a good shepherd and a bad one. When Jesus uses the image of a shepherd to discuss spiritual leadership in John 10, He, too, makes a distinction between good and bad shepherdry. He does so in response to the Pharisees, who have confronted him after he has healed a blind man. Previously, the Pharisees had decided that anyone who acknowledged Jesus as Lord would be put out of the synagogue and out of the Jewish community But the healed man ignores their decision, honours Jesus for his healing and then, in fact, gets thrown out of the synagogue Jesus hears about it and quickly finds the man, who soon comes to faith in Him.

Then Jesus explains the difference between how the Pharisees have treated the man and how He Himself has treated him. He compares it to the difference between a hired hand and a good shepherd John A hired hand works for money, for his own gain, he says. His own wellbeing is more important to him than that of the sheep. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. At this stage, Jesus points to Himself: He is the good shepherd who will lay down his life for his flock verse Only a real shepherd will be truly followed by his sheep. Because he is always with them, shares his life with them and will do anything for them, they know his voice and follow him.

God is just such a shepherd and His son Jesus is just such a shepherd. And He wants every person who leads His church in His name to be just such a good shepherd. You know the difference between a good and a bad shepherd. You have the greatest shepherd of all as your example. And in His name and strength you may be a pastor, a shepherd. The truth that applies to every other child of God applies to the pastor as well: the Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing!

A church leader in Iraq told me that pastors in his country must often lead their flocks under very difficult circumstances. In Baghdad, they can hardly move through the city or beyond it for fear of shootings and kidnappings. Yet they, too, wish to take care of their flocks. How can they be good shepherds? The second walk behind the flock. These shepherds see exactly what is going on among the sheep, they know them well and take good care of them. The church will be best cared for if it is served by two kinds of pastors: the visionary and the comforter.

Anyone who has discovered what the task of a pastor involves will know it is something you can never do on your own initiative. Moses did not decide to lead the people of Israel of his own accord, David did not anoint himself king, the prophets did not prophesy at their own discretion. Even the slightest awareness of the great responsibility of a pastor should be enough to discourage anyone from taking up the task on his own initiative. How could anyone speak for God and lead his church on their own initiative?

But how does God call a person, how do you recognise that He is the one directing you towards pastorship? The church affirms that every believer is called to be a witness of Jesus in this world. In that sense, everyone who knows Jesus has a calling to serve Him. In addition to that, we read in the Bible that God calls some people to a special assignment. These special tasks are all aimed at supporting the believers in their calling to serve God and to testify about Jesus. In the Bible we see that Jesus gives the gifts of the Spirit to the whole church. The body of Christ is made up of the church as a whole and each member is gifted to serve the others and to build them up in their faith.

In short, it is a special way of being touched or spoken to. God calls his servants in different ways, but the result of the call is always that the person being called is completely overcome by it. It becomes an inner compulsion pushing you towards becoming a pastor. You may not necessarily feel happy or grateful right away; receiving a calling can also make you feel frightened or uncertain.

This compulsion to serve as a pastor is not just a burden, but also a token of immense grace. It is a grave responsibility, but also a beautiful mission! A second characteristic of being called to be a pastor, besides that inner compulsion to serve God, is that you develop a great compassion for people. The realisation that all those people living and working around you are lost without Jesus pierces your heart. The founders of the project, Johan and Astrid Vos, by this time had spent over 10 years working among the poorest of the poor in this country.

As we worked and spent time together, we spoke a lot about the meaning of the work. The misery in a slum area is so overwhelming that it makes your efforts seem futile. What keeps them going from day to day is a desire to share Jesus with all those hopeless people, helping them with food, education and social support. Becoming a pastor, then, starts with a personal calling from God. A calling from God must definitely be answered by the pastor-to-be.

It must be followed by a deliberate choice to be obedient and to follow wherever God will lead. We can see this clearly in the lives of the disciples. Jesus calls them away from their daily activities to follow Him and to save people. But they have to leave their nets behind. Being called to become a pastor tears you away from your normal patterns. Serving Jesus is not something you can do on the side, it is a radically different way of living. Jesus shows us the significance of this by the distinction He makes between the disciples and the crowd.

If you were to summarise what the gospels tell us about the disciples and about the crowd, you could say that the members of the crowd listen to Jesus, witness His miracles and that many of them believe in Him. They are timeservers, not followers. Jesus touches them, but they do not leave their normal, day-to-day patterns of living. Becoming a real disciple calls for more, as Jesus explains in Luke In verse 26, he indicates that not everyone who follows Him is necessarily a disciple.

This statement is not meant to disparage family ties; it is about loving God above everything and everyone else. Your family, loved ones, friends and colleagues are all valuable, but if you wish to be a disciple and to join in the work of the Kingdom, your life — every aspect of it — must be governed by Jesus. Serving Jesus means letting go of everything that is more important to you than He is, everything that might distract you from serving Him. No longer are you governed by people around you, or by your own will, Jesus governs your life, both present and future.

I consider them garbage. If you wish to work side by side with Jesus, everything that until now gave you a sense of security and stability, everything you were proud of, must be removed. In this context, your relationships also hold second place. Every disciple who desires to follow and serve the Saviour, including a pastor with a calling, must break with anything that might hinder his service.

It is a step of obedience that can only be taken on the basis of the love of Jesus. Anyone who knows His love will desire nothing more than to live nearer to Him. To such a person, pursuing Him is not a sacrifice but a deep desire. Directly after Jesus has spoken about the obedience required of a disciple, remarkably, he goes on to emphasise that discipleship also means you will have to suffer with Him. Not His cross, for He carried that Himself, but your own cross.

The Five-fold Ministry (english)

Even Paul said he proclaimed the gospel of the cross in fear and trembling, because it was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles 1 Corinthians 1 and 2. Carrying the cross in the footsteps of Jesus is characterised by being rejected, excluded, by becoming a stranger on earth. Does this mean the pastor is some sort of misfit? Only then will you be united with Him in His suffering and thereby also partake of His glory Philippians , Being called to be a pastor, then, is a far-reaching destiny, a process of hearing and obeying. It is about discovering step by step the path God has for you and how you can obey, using your gifts.

Often it is a long process, in which knowing God and getting to know yourself better and better, are of vital importance. This enables you to make sure the calling is genuine and that you will respond to it in the right manner and at the right time. A church leader in Pakistan once told me that in his country, where pastors face tremendous pressure, a man who indicates that he wishes to become a pastor is not immediately sent to a theological seminary.

First he is prepared for a number of years, sometimes as many as ten. He is given a support role in a church organisation and is encouraged to acquire the language and other skills he will need later at seminary. In the workplace, he learns what it means to be a Christian in daily practice. He is familiarised with what it means to be in the service of God. Only after a time, if he has genuinely received a calling from God, is he considered ready to go to seminary and become a pastor.

In view of the great responsibility every pastor carries, I believe this is a lesson from the Suffering Church that we must take seriously. We should prepare aspiring pastors for working in a church by first giving them a position that does not involve huge responsibilities. Meanwhile, help them hone their skills, their character and their spiritual life and only then send them off to seminary. In Acts, the Biblical route followed for the calling of pastors is that the congregation gathers together in prayer and that the Spirit then appoints individuals who are to be ordained as pastors by the church.

There is a calling from above and a calling from below and the two cannot be separated. The pastor is a servant of God, called by the Spirit, and his calling is confirmed and implemented by the church. You can be confident that you have been called by the Spirit by the fact that He empowers your life and ministry.

Similar authors to follow

Every believer receives the Holy Spirit, but again and again we read about people in the Bible who received a special assignment from God and a special anointing of the Spirit to go with it. The most obvious example is Jesus, who at the beginning of His ministry was baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. When He came up out of the water, He received a beautiful confirmation of His calling. Something similar happened to the disciples on the first day of Pentecost. To receive this anointing, you do have to consciously open your heart and fully focus on the direction of the Spirit.

How do you open yourself to the anointing of the Spirit upon your life as a pastor? The Bible only gives one answer to that question. The key to opening your heart to the special guidance of the Spirit is prayer. Jesus was praying when He received the Spirit at His baptism in the Jordan. The confirmation of your calling by the anointing of the Spirit, therefore, comes through prayer. We have seen that your calling must be confirmed by God through the anointing of His Spirit.

That is the first and most important confirmation. But again and again in the Bible this calling is also confirmed by the church of Christ. From Acts and 3 see above it is clear that the Spirit calls, whereas the church sends off those who are called by blessing them through the laying on of hands. Your ordination as a pastor should be done in and by the congregation. In that way your calling is confirmed not only by God, but also by His church.

The church thus recognises your calling and gifts, your faith and your suitability. You will need this recognition to be accepted as a pastor. You will need this recognition to provide spiritual leadership and to be respected and revered by the congregation. A calling by God to be a pastor starts as an inner compulsion, is followed by the anointing of the Spirit for the task at hand, and is confirmed through the ordination, or sending off, by the church of Christ.

Being a pastor is a way of life. A pastor is not just someone who points the way to living a life that honours God, he sets an example, too. The credibility of what a pastor says depends on the life he lives. A congregation watches its pastor to see how he puts into practice what he teaches them about walking with Jesus.

And rightly so. Paul repeatedly sets himself as an example. Being an example like this can be paralysing if it makes you feel that as a pastor you have to be some sort of perfect Christian. Thankfully, this is not the case; if it was, who could be a pastor? It does mean that in every aspect of your life you deliberately seek to serve God, to follow Jesus and to be led by the Holy Spirit.

The only way you can be an example for your congregation is by consciously living in close communion with God. A spiritual leader cannot survive without caring for his own soul. Be aware as a pastor that each new day you must first receive from God before you can give out in His name!

The question is: how do we nourish ourselves spiritually, how do we lead a spiritual life? Let me mention three aspects of spiritual life that a pastor, keeping watch over his own soul, must take into account. There are other issues as well, but throughout Christian tradition these three have been considered the three most important aspects of spiritual life.

A pastor who observes these three points will grow in Christ and therefore also in his ministry in the church. The first thing about the spiritual life of a pastor is that he must lead a prayerful life. Although this is such a vital issue for every pastor, it is often the first thing to be forgotten or neglected under the pressure of all the work. Prayer is a form of hidden communion with God, it is what nourishes your relationship with the heavenly Father. If you prayerfully share your whole life with Him, your sins and your wounds, your joys and your sorrows, He will give you comfort and strength.

Spending time in prayer with your Sender will place all your labouring and your concerns in a very different light. Staying tuned to God through prayer will take the worst pressure off your shoulders. Instead of you leading your life, He will lead it. Instead of you leading the church, He will lead it. Only he who daily practices the presence of God will persevere and continue to grow and to blossom spiritually. The best example of a praying pastor is Jesus Himself.

Again and again we read that He was praying, that He withdrew to be alone with His Father. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles. In addition to personal prayer, every pastor is also charged to pray continually for the members of his congregation.

This is what Jesus did in His prayers, too. I am not praying for the world. He is one of you. He serves Christ Jesus. He is always praying hard for you. He prays that you will stand firm in holding to all that God has in mind for us. You pleads for them with God, praying that they will stand firm and grow in faith, hope and love. You prayerfully fight alongside them, like Moses did when the people of Israel fought against the Amalekites Exodus As long as he kept praying for them, they were winning, but every time he lowered his hands, they began to lose.

But how do you put this into practice as a pastor? People often ask their pastor to pray for them personally. One way of dealing with this is to pray for that man or woman on the spot, while he or she is with you. Another approach is to take time out at the end of each day to intercede for everyone you have met that day. That way you will be praying for the whole congregation and not just for those in need. These are ways of taking them to God in prayer, pleading for them with their heavenly Father, representing them to their Lord.

They may be too restless that day to pray themselves, but you will be taking time out to speak to God for them and on their behalf. Satan has asked to sift you disciples like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon. In almost every letter he writes, Paul tells the churches he writes how he prays for them. It encourages people and gives them hope and expectation. At the same time, it offers them an example of a prayerful life.

As church members experience how uplifting it is to hear that someone is praying for them, they will pray for others more consciously. You are a human being, living and moving consciously and compassionately among other human beings. Those others, too, will benefit from your prayerful attention. Church leaders facing persecution emphasise in every conversation about their pastors and churches that they continuously pray for their country.

We pray zealously for a revival and we are prepared to pay the price if the Kingdom of God can be advanced in our country. Egypt is our mother. So our hearts cry and we beg God that revival will come soon, that Jesus will draw the hearts of the Egyptian people to Himself. The compassion of these pastors for their countries, with all the fiercely anti-Christian forces at work there, is a tremendous example to us all. Finally, living a prayerful life involves the dual movement of deliberately consecrating time and space for prayer on the one hand, while staying tuned to God throughout the day on the other.

In the first instance, prayer is entering into communion with God in the inner room Matthew What matters most in the inner room is not so much everything we want to tell God, but our worshiping Him. It is an inner attuning to His presence, a quiet delight in who He is. On the other hand, a prayerful life also means staying tuned to God throughout the day, walking by the Spirit: not just in those consecrated moments, but throughout your whole existence.

The life of a pastor is one big prayer. Daniel was in charge of the greatest empire of his day and we read about him that it was his custom to pray three times a day facing Jerusalem Daniel ,11, Prayer was his source of strength and he would not be robbed of it by anyone or anything — even if he had to pay for it with his life. Pastors, especially, are too busy not to pray.

A church leader from Bhutan told me how a lack of education and resources drives pastors in Bhutan to draw their strength from prayer. Prayer is their top priority. Before making any decisions or taking any action, they pray. Most pastors, he said, spend every morning in prayer. Often they find that God provides guidance during these prayer times, making His will clear to them — which sometimes means they have to change their plans after praying.

On Sunday morning, the whole church fasts to prepare for the church service and for fellowship. The pastor fasts and prays first, then makes decisions. Meditation is the second pillar of a healthy spiritual life for pastors. Prayer is our answer, our response to what God has said to us. There is an ongoing interaction between praying and reading the Bible.

Without prayer, the Bible will not come to life for you, and without the Bible your prayer life will soon languish. A pastor who wishes to lead a spiritual life and to breathe prayer cannot survive without regularly and attentively listening to what God says to him in His Word. The Psalms, in particular, celebrate the great wealth and eternal value of the Word. The Word is a source of assurance, comfort and strength. The Word shows you the way, keeps you close to God. Psalm is one big hymn to the value of the Word.

The Pakistani church leader whom I mentioned earlier told me that in an environment in which the Quran is considered sacred and the Bible blasphemous, the value of the Bible to Christians is unrelinquishable. We can only get to know God through the Bible. He has promised to guide us through His Word. Of all people, a pastor living and working in the service of God cannot do without daily immersion in the Word of God. Paul asserts this, too, in his instructions to Timothy on what really matters in leading the church of Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So, again, a pastor cannot do without daily interaction with the Word. Meditating on it must be part and parcel of the spiritual life of every pastor. Meditating on the Word is something that, in the first place, you do for your own good. The great danger for every pastor is to view the Bible merely as a vast store of sermon texts. You scour it for suitable material for sermons, pastoral care or Bible studies. But we can only pass on a message to others with any real authority, if we have ourselves read and lived through the Scripture passage in question.

You must listen before you speak. In several Bible passages, meditation is compared with eating. Then you want more, so you start chewing, which releases more of its flavour. Finally you swallow it, so that it can nourish your body. Take a few verses, or read a short passage, and reread it several times, slowly and attentively. Read it out loud once, so that you can actually hear the words. This will give you a first impression, helping you to get familiar with it and to internalise it.

The best way is to memorise the words of the text, so that you can take them with you into the day or week. Now try digging a little deeper, by trying to bring the words and images of the text to life.