The Shepherds receive an angelic visitation: announcement about the birth of Jesus.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son [Jesus] and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.12And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”(Luke 2:7-14 KJV).
Our Shepherds Today…Our Prayer for them.
As I read the above verses, my mind went to the Shepherds of today. By “Shepherds of today” I mean the pastors and their leadership team in the churches across the world. Many have been busy organising nativity plays, Christmas carol services and other church events and ministry activities during the festive season.
One would think that among Christians it would be expected of us to stay focused on Christ because after all Christmas is about Christ! but we are all aware that there are many temptations and distractions in this season (more so in some nations, communities and families than others) and often times we have to humble ourselves before God and ask for His strength in keeping Christ as our central focus in this season of Christmas. We often need to make that extra effort to ensure we are spending quality time with God, so that we do not get “swallowed up” by the many distractions such as many TV programmes (i.e films, Christmas shows), several parties or gatherings or being the host to numerous family members and visitors in our homes. Some of these are pleasurable no doubt, but caution is still required.
May God abundantly bless all our Shepherds for their efforts to ensure that we all stay focused on Christ who is of course the reason for this Christmas season.
At this time, I also believe we must spend time praying and giving thanks to God for our Shepherds (Pastors and church leadership team), who have been used by Him to serve us throughout the year and will continue to do so.
I ask you to join me in praying for our Shepherds:
We give you glory and praise for sending Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the World. We thank you that Christ exemplified and taught us the characteristics of the Good Shepherd over his flock, the people of God.
Our prayer is that as the Angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds watching over their flock, in this season your voice will resonate loud and clear in the hearts of all the Shepherds of our churches to whom, through the “Good Shepherd” you have entrusted your flock with regards to the pressing concerns and matters on your heart. Such as the need for restoration or sustained centrality/focus (whichever the case might be) of Jesus Christ in their churches and sermons and for all shepherds to have the characteristics and true heart of a shepherd as taught and exemplified by Christ in his public ministry.
May this be an era when your Holy Spirit is sent forth mightily to convict and bring a shaking where it is needed, among our shepherds as never before. In this way there will be examination of hearts and many will, if need be, come to repentance so that holiness, truth and the fear of the LORD becomes the order of the day as we near the time of the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Father, we also ask for a special visitation of your Holy Spirit as guide, comforter, counsellor and teacher to the Shepherds in our churches in this season and into the new year as they contemplate and seek direction for the ministry and their personal lives.
As ministers, they have given of themselves all year round and our prayer is that you would send a great outpouring of your Spirit to refreshen, strengthen and empower them now and for the task ahead. We ask that you will compel them to take time to rest and seek your face even in the hustle and bustle of busyness.
Father we ask that you heal and encourage those who have been wounded or discouraged during the course of the year; revive and restore them, LORD!
We pray for an abundance of your supernatural peace and joy as a river flowing in their hearts as they minister day to day.
LORD, the heart’s desire of every true Shepherd is to have a ministry that exudes the words “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14) or one that glorifies you and is an instrument of your peace and goodness on earth. Our prayer is that you would grant these Shepherds their hearts desire by surrounding them with co-ministers after your own heart, exposing and taking away those who are insincere or false shepherds.
We also ask that you would impart to them a greater measure of the fruit of the Spirit and spiritual gifts required for sustenance and advancement in ministry. May their love for you and the saints abound as well as the gift of wisdom, knowledge and discerning of spirits among other gifts so that your Name is glorified in their lives and ministries.
In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.
“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26 KJV).
You are blessed, determine to stay blessed!
©Deborah E.Nyamekye 24/12/2015