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Talking About God or With God?

Many Christian leaders are embarrassed that heavy schedules squeeze out personal prayer, resulting in guilt, anxiety, and lack of power.

While dining with a West Coast pastor, we were confronted with the question, "How much time do you estimate the average pastor or Christian leader spends in prayer per week?"

He had read "The Ministers of Minneapolis: A Study in Paradox (LEADERSHIP, Volume 1, Number 1), an article based on The Minneapolis Star survey of clergy in Hennepin County. He pointed out that personal prayer seemed oddly missing as a major factor in pastors' lives.

Later, we conducted an informal poll among our clergy friends which revealed the embarrassing admission that the minister's private prayer life suffers considerably. Prayers for public services, private meetings, and pastoral calls are part of the minister's trade; but regular, extended, personal communion with God is often crowded out. Our West Coast friend said, "How different this seems to be from the priorities of the apostles, who gave themselves 'continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word' " (Acts 6:4).

About the same time as this conversation, ...

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