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“He that is more frequent in his pulpit to his people than he is in his closet for his people is but a sorry watchman.”  – John Owen

I recently read this quote from Owen.  His words not only come as a stinging correction they also reveal some vital things concerning leadership in general whether that be the leadership of a pastor, husband, father, businessman, or community leader.

First, I do not have what is needed to help others on my own.  To stand before a congregation, our children, or our community and tell them what to do and believe without praying for the Holy Spirit to fall and enable is foolish.  It is foolish precisely because we are weak jars of clay.  Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain”

Second, there is one who has the power to help those in need.  In prayer we call on the one who has all power to accomplish his purposes.  We speak to the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, controls the hearts of individuals as well as the movements of nations.  It is vital not only to see our inability but to truly grasp his ability.

Third, we have access to the powerful one.  It would not be enough if we only understood that we are too weak and God is plenty strong.  Owen’s words reveal that we have access to the omnipotent one.  He stands ready to bless his work.  We do not have because we do not ask.  Through Christ and his finished work on the cross we have access to the Father.  We have access to relationship with him and we have access to his power.  We speak often of our access to relationship but we seem to ignore our access to his power.  We must never neglect the former but we must not ignore or disregard that latter.

“Lord, teach us to pray…”  – Luke 11:1

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