The Most Important Thing You Do

Why the pastoral prayer releases God's power in ways even preaching does not.

Most pastors work hard. We try to be competent at many things. We go to hospitals to care for those whose bodies, and perhaps spirits, are broken.

We counsel church members who wonder what strange thing God is doing in their lives. We spend hours in meetings, trying our best to guide the church, supervise staff, balance budgets, and raise money.

Then there is the sermon. Our church has a pulpit that's two stories tall. Guess what's considered important in our tradition? It's an overwhelming responsibility to climb those steps Sunday after Sunday and utter, "Hear the Word of the Lord." I work on the sermon every morning, and I still go to bed every Saturday night fretting that I have not worked hard enough.

Facing my twentieth anniversary in the pastorate, I have about decided that none of this is the most important thing I do. Not even the preaching. These days, I'm thinking that the most important thing I do for my congregation is to pray. Specifically, leading ...

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