Seeking Power through Secret Prayer

April 1, 2024 By Joshua Dean

In ministry, our desire should never be to be seen by others, to be recognized, thought much of, or be praised. The desire for recognition should be on behalf of our Savior: that we seek to be empowered and moved by the Spirit to facilitate others seeing and savoring Jesus.

Yes: the teacher & preacher ought to endeavor to speak clearly, effectively, simply- to be an orator, to be able to teach, instruct, expound, and make a compelling case. But he should first have sought to have heard from Jesus. If he wants to preach in power, he should labor in prayer as much as he labors in the Word. Having fellowshipped with the Father, he will more clearly know what he is to say and how is he to say it and he will find in that hidden, secret labor the strength and fruitfulness of his ministry abound.

He who endeavors to warmly receive others; to greet them, encourage them, pray for them, meet their needs, or build them up desires an excellent thing. The desire is from God, the enabling is in His sovereign will, and the opportunity finds itself in his preparing for it beforehand.

Secret prayer lays the foundational understanding and reminder that service unto God surely calls the dead to life, the weak to renewal, the hungry to come feast, the blind to new sight; but ultimately- ministry to others is the expression of our love and gratitude to God. In the same way as the preacher- if the minister desires to be seen or praised, they neuter the potency of their service. But if the minister desires to live out fruitful labor, the willingness and presence to serve will be multiplied by the minister who labors in the unseen prayer first.

Seeking the face of God, wrestling with Him in prayer first and foremost, will provide the minister with the direction from the Spirit- having heard the voice of God, given the mysterious unction to act, supplied with the compelling grace to sacrifice, and empowered by the divine sustaining strength to serve unto God’s glory until the very end.

The psalmist, musician, leader of worship is no different. They must hunt down the desire for the praise and recognition of man and sacrifice it on the altar of prayer. The beautiful voice, perfectly executed chord, precisely plucked string- though on display before others, should ultimately be acts of worship between them and God… for the benefit of others.

No other desire should be present in executing the expression than to exclaim the goodness, mercy, steadfast love, and grace of God well. To offer an excellent sacrifice of praise to God is commendable. But the desire to be seen as executing the music well is in direct conflict with a heart that seeks God’s glory above all else.

And the surest way to audit one’s heart is to lay it before the Holy Spirit of God to sift through your secret intentions, hidden desires, quiet longings, and expose what needs to be lain down. And that happens in one’s prayer closet. When the minister leads others in exulting in our King, they can do so powerfully if they come out of private prayer- having rooted out that which is about self and having encountered the living God, reflecting His glory in their expression the same way Moses reflected the Glory of God in his face.

I share this as a personal consideration for readers to seek Him more in private, and to encourage the church to consider this principle as they endeavor to be used of God, to walk in the good works He has prepared for us.


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