Some Biblical Reflections from your Classis Leader, Rev. Curry Pikkaart
Serving as an Associate Pastor during my first year out of seminary, I conducted my first wedding and first funeral on the same weekend. The Senior Pastor was on vacation so it all fell under my umbrella.
The funeral was tough – a 39 year-old husband and father had died of cancer. To keep a longer story short, the key moment for me came as I was about to lead the procession into the sanctuary. One of our Deacons tugged at the back of my suit coat and said “You know we’e all been praying for you.” Yes, I knew it but at that moment it became more then head knowledge. Those words of comfort and encouragement kicked in my spiritual adrenalin and empowered me for the task at hand.
I have thought of that moment often as it reminds me of both the power of prayer but also the power of knowing there is a team praying for a specific time and event. It brings to mind the men who held up Moses’ arms during battle. As long as his arms were raised Israel was winning the battle. But when his arms grew tired and he lowered them, the battle turned against them. So men were appointed to hold up his arms until the battle was over and the victory had been won. What an image for the power of prayer! Without those prayers of my friends the funeral would have been a different story – but they held me up during that time.
Over the years I learned that the same principle came powerfully into play when I led worship and preached. I would often remark how there was a definite physical, emotional and mental let down after worship was over. It was a vulnerable time for me as the ‘spiritual adrenalin’ had stopped and I was in need of some rest. Certainly part of this had to do with the energy expended in leading worship and preaching. But what I learned was that it had much more to do with the fact that people were praying for me all week long right up through the worship service. They were holding me up. Once they service ended so did the prayers – until probably Monday when they started up again. In this in-between-time there was no lifting up and I would experience the accompanying loss of energy and adrenalin. This was later confirmed for me when I learned that Charles Spurgeon had a group of people who prayed, in a room below the sanctuary, all through the worship service. They were holding him up.
If you are a pastor it is my deep hope that you have or will recruit such a team of arm holders. If you are a congregant my deep hope is that you will approach your pastor about forming and leading such a group. For when the pastor is raised up during preparation for worship and preaching there will be victory all around.