But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-3
Dear Lord Jesus, Jonah’s story moves me today to pray for weary men and women serving in the ministry of the gospel. I wish it weren’t so, but sometimes it takes my own challenges and hardships in ministry for me to hit my knees with compassionate intercession for others. Before your throne of grace, we bring you missionaries and pastors, teachers and counselors—a wide range of friends you’ve called to minister the gospel of your grace and kingdom.
Many of them can emotionally relate to Jonah. In their heads they still know you to be a God who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. But in their hearts they are disconnected and disillusioned, burned out and angry; and some, like Jonah, are so weary that, given the option, they’d opt out of this world into heaven today. Have mercy, on them, Lord; have great mercy today.
Lord Jesus, you know all the issues in each situation. You know what’s under the sadness and what’s compounding the madness; the meaning of the tears and what’s fueling the flight. Meet these dear servants of yours right where they are. I pray for their spouses and children as well, for sometimes it’s the family members who suffer ministry pangs the most.
Comfort them with your compassion. Grant them a renewed perspective of eternity. Rekindle hope in their hurting hearts. Where needed, may your kindness drive them to appropriate repentance. Where timely, grant them rescue from piranha-like parishioners who nibble away at their souls, or freedom from envious colleagues or the betrayers in their lives; or relief from too many demands in too little time with too little resources. Refresh these women and men with whatever means of grace you choose, loving Lord Jesus.
Until you return, Jesus, Satan will continue to mount an all-out assault against you by attacking your bride; and especially those called to nourish and prepare your church for the great wedding day. Satan knows he’s lost us for eternity, so he will do anything and everything within his power to bring havoc, hardship and heartache.
Use us, however you choose, to encourage your servants, and all the more as we see that great Day approaching. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.