This week we start another school year at seminary. As we begin our labors again, I would like to make a request: please pray for our holiness.
We certainly desire your prayers in general: Pray that God would give us strength for our labors. Ask that God would strengthen our conviction that we are to serve him as pastors. Pray for God’s blessing on our school year.
But more specifically, pray for our holiness.
Why? Because nothing disrupts our work more than sin. Nothing makes us doubt whether we are called to the ministry more than continued failure to overcome besetting sins. Nothing makes our work more difficult, even impossible, than committing presumptuous sins. Sin undermines everything we strive to do in preparation for the ministry. For when we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit, upon whom we rely to reveal to us the truths of Scripture.
Pray that God works in us by his Spirit, so that we more and more put off the old man of sin and put on the new man of righteousness. Pray that we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
This prayer is necessary because we are sinners. Though our seminary is located on top of a hill, it is no ivory tower. Professors and students alike are sinners who still do the evil that we desire not to do and fail to do the good that we desire to do. Just because we spend most of our day studying God’s Word does not make us immune to temptation and sin.
Please pray that God would make us holy, even as He is holy.
Pray such a prayer for us. But do not stop there. Pray this same prayer for the office bearers of the church. No doubt, they would make the same confession: it is sin that makes their work difficult and fills them with doubt about their qualification to be office bearers. Pray for the holiness of pastors, elders, and deacons alike.
Make this supplication to God, for He alone can make us holy. And we, in turn, will continue to pray this same prayer for you.