Prayer For Faithfulness In Ministry
8 Prayers You Should DESPERATELY Pray For Your Pastor
Pastoral ministry is a business un any other. It is a dangerous business. A sacred business. A business where the souls of people are at stake.
I was a pastor for many years, so I have a feel for the perils and pleasures of ministry. It’s very hard, supremely rewarding work.
Gardiner Spring said:
It is at a fearful expense that ministers are ever allowed to enter the pulpit without being preceded, accompanied, and followed by the earnest prayers of the churches.
It is no marvel that the pulpit is so powerless, and ministers so often disheartened when there are so few to hold up their hands…When the churches cease to pray for ministers, ministers will no longer be a blessing to the churches.
In light of the challenges of ministry, here are 8 prayers every church member should pray for their pastor(s) on a regular basis.
#1 – For Protection From Satan
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
If Satan can take down a shepherd of God’s people, the odds are much higher that God’s people will scatter. That they’ll become bitter and disenfranchised. They will question everything they’ve ever been taught by that pastor. Satan targets pastors because the damage is exponential if they fall. Pray for your pastor that he would be kept safe from Satan.
Father, please protect my pastor from the attacks of Satan. Give him the strength to endure temptation and stand firm against the accusations Satan loves to whisper in his ear. Help him stand firm in your service, always fighting for the faith and for his people.
#2 – For Protection Against His Own Sinful Heart
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)
Pastors don’t fall because one day, the blue, they decide to dive headlong into sin. The slide into sin happens slowly, over time, in small increments, as the pastor believes the lies presented to him by his flesh. Pray for your pastor that he would be on guard against the lies of sin. Pray that he would have a proper fear of God.
Father, please protect my pastor from the deceitfulness of sin that we all are so prone to. Guard him from sin. Keep his conscience tender and fresh. Keep him close to you and close to your word.
#3 – For Deep Spiritual Encouragement
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:11-12)
Pastoral ministry can be brutal, discouraging work. Pastors find themselves in the midst of terrible situations on a regular basis – divorce, death, apostasy, and much more.
It’s also challenging because they don’t see progress in the sense that other jobs do. Christians are always in progress. Because of this, discouragement and depression can be a regular companion of the minister.Pray for your pastor to be encouraged.
Father, please encourage my pastor by the power of your Spirit. Let his soul be refreshed with the love of Christ. Let him have faith for the future. Help him to keep pressing forward even when the way is littered with landmines. Let him be refreshed by the fact that your grace is sufficient for him.
#4 – For Wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
Many elements of pastoral ministry are not black and white. A husband and wife are in serious conflict, and the husband has one story while the wife has another. A church member needs financial support but has a history of mismanaged finances. A young man struggles with same-sex attraction while still wanting to follow Jesus. Pastors need God’s wisdom to navigate these gray areas.
Father, please give my pastor your wisdom. Help him know the way to go even when the way is not clear. Give him discernment to know good from evil, even when evil is dressed as good. Help him apply your word to even the most confusing situations.
#5 – For Doctrinal Faithfulness
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:14).
Pastors can be tempted to modify or even abandon biblical doctrines for a variety of reasons. Cultural pressures, vocal church members, even legal actions can press hard upon pastors, making them feel that the only way out is to give up the clear teaching of Scripture. They need God’s grace to stay faithful to the good deposit of God’s word.
Father, I pray for my pastor that you would help him hold fast to Scripture, even when everyone else tells him to let go. Help him stand on your word and only your word. Protect him from the temptation to abandon the precious truths laid out in Scripture.
#6 – For A Healthy Body
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Ministry can take a tremendous toll on a pastor’s body. Yes, our bodies are temples, but they are often broken temples.
Long nights at the hospital, high-stress situations, and ever-present discouragement can quickly lead to burnout and body betrayal.
Not only do pastor’s need spiritual strength, they need physical strength as well. Pray for your pastor that he would be sustained in body and mind.
Father, please give my pastoral supernatural strength. Protect him from sickness and disease. Give him your energy to keep serving faithfully. Help him to find periods of rest and recovery. Guide him to still waters.
#7 – For A Strong Marriage and Family
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church (1 Timothy 3:2-6)
Church history is littered with the skeletons of pastors whose marriages and families fell apart under the strain of pastoral ministry. And as 1 Timothy states, if a pastor can’t manage his family, how can he manage the church of God? Satan loves to sabotage a pastor’s family, and your pastor needs prayer that God will give him a healthy marriage and family.
Father, please give my pastor a supernaturally healthy marriage. Strengthen the bonds between him and his wife. Encourage them both in ministry. Give both of them wisdom to manage their family and to keep you at the center, not ministry. I also pray for their children that you would let them know you and follow you.
#8 – For Meaningful Friendships
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
Pastoral ministry can be surprisingly lonely. Something about being in a position of leadership isolates the man. People look to him to be a teacher and leader, not be their close friend. Pastors need close friends who will encourage them, hold them accountable, and push them toward Christ.
Father, please give my pastor true, deep, sustaining friendships. Give him friends who stick closer than brothers. Who uphold him when he’s weary. Who help carry his burdens.
Sustained By Prayer
In some ways, pastors are sustained by the prayers of their people. Obviously, God is the one who ultimately sustains pastors, but one of his primary means is through the prayers for pastors.
When it comes to why you should pray for your pastor, take the words of Charles Spurgeon to heart:
No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.
Do your pastor a true kindness today. Pray for your pastor.
6 Prayers for Pastors or Leaders
Leaders of churches and other organizations work very hard. I should know, I have been married to a preacher for many years. In addition to the regular activities such as leading church services and prayer meetings, many times the leaders in the church are called upon to do other things.
These things might include visiting folks that are in the hospital, attending community events, providing counsel to people and even ministering to families that have lost a loved one. True, the leaders and pastors have been called to do these things but faithful prayers of the church are a blessing to these men of God.
Here are 7 prayers for pastors or leaders that you might want to add to your prayer list.
Prayer for Faithfulness
Dear Lord, your word says many things about faithfulness, I pray now for our pastor that he will continue to be faithful to You and to Your church. Help him to always seek Your direction in his life and the life of Your church.
I pray that he is faithful in all that he does, faithful to his commitments, faithful to his wife and family, faithful to his staff, but most of all I pray that he is always faithful to You in what you would have for him to do to accomplish Your plan for his life. Lord help him to be faithful to proclaim your name in all the earth.I praise you for this time that I have to offer up my prayer for faithfulness Lord and ask that you grant it in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
Prayer for Quiet Time to Study the Word
Dear Lord, I am praying for my pastor (leader). I ask that You give him the time that he needs to be in Your word.
I pray that You help us to remember why deacons were first elected in the church; so that the preachers might have time to be ministers of Your word.
Help us to remember that we can do the things that need to be done that do not require the assistance of the preacher. Help us to give of our time and talent and to encourage others to do the same. I pray through Jesus, Amen.
Acts 6:1-4 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Prayer for Rest & Good Health
Dear Heavenly Father, I ask for your blessing upon our pastor (leader) that he might receive the rest that he needs from his long hours of work.
Help me to remember that I can help my pastor (leader) by offering to volunteer my time and talents to do the things that God has gifted me to do so my pastor (leader) does not have to take on that task.
Help me to remember to let him know how much I appreciate the time and energy that he puts into each and every thing that he does. I pray that he is able to eat right and get proper exercise so that he can remain healthy for Your work. I raise up this prayer in the name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
Psalms 145:14-15 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
Prayer for Provision
Dear God in Heaven, we love you and know that your promises in the Bible are true. Please hold our pastor in the palm of your hands as he continually walks by faith, knowing that you will provide for his every need as well as the needs of his family.
Please help him to remember what Jesus said about your generosity and loving kindness. Help him to know that you know every hair on his head and that he is much more than any sparrow.
I praise you for all that you have already done for my pastor and pray that you will continue to bless him with everything that he needs. I pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Prayer for Wisdom & Direction
Dear God, I want to lift my pastor (leader) up to you in prayer. He needs Your wisdom and direction for Your church. Please keep him humble and always relying upon You to give him the perfect wisdom and direction that he needs.
Help him to consider information offered by others and also to come to You in prayer as he evaluates things. Remind him of Your servant Solomon who when he was to become king prayed only for Your wisdom and because of his humility You granted even more than wisdom.
I pray this in Jesus name, Amen1 Kings 3:11-13 11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings unto thee all thy days.
Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
Prayer for Fellowship & Good Godly Friends
Dear Father in Heaven, I pray that You will provide good and godly friends for my pastor. Friendships that will allow him to just be himself and will allow him to be held accountable as a brother in Christ.
God he needs time away from the ministry to enjoy the fruit of his labor, I pray that You will provide good friends that will be his for a lifetime so that he may dwell together with them in unity.
I pray that he is able to talk about the things of the Lord and that they may be able to encourage each other on how to remain faithful, committed and loving men of God. I pray these things by the power of Jesus name, Amen.
Psalms 133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
How Do You Pray for your Pastor or Church Leaders?
Do you have special prayers that you offer for your leaders? Or perhaps you have something special that you do to bless your pastor or other leaders. We would love for you to share in the comments below.
The Holy Bible, King James Version
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6 Prayers For Your Worship Leaders
Here are six prayers for your worship leaders you might be able to use.
Prayer for God’s Glory
Righteous Father God, I pray for our worship leaders and also those who are leaders in other areas Sunday school and administrative positions, but for now, I ask you to help our worship leaders focus on what You desire and that is that You be glorified in our worship services as we worship You.
I pray we worship You in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) so we can bring glory to You through our praises and thanksgivings.
Please help your Spirit enable those who lead our worship services to seek to give You the credit for all we do and to help us focus on Your desire to be glorified and in His name we pray to seek more glorify for this, Jesus Christ, amen.
Prayer for Godly Wisdom
Father God, You are full of wisdom and truth, so help those of us who lack wisdom be given the wisdom that comes from above (James 1:5). Our own ways are not safe Lord. We know that what we think is right is often just the opposite of what You desire.
Father, give our worship leaders the wisdom that only comes from You and that this godly wisdom would help them know how to apply biblical principles in a way that shows love, kindness, patience, but also discipline, when needed.
Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do, so help them to know the way that You would choose and to follow those things taught from Scripture as the final word on authority, and to fear Your Word. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of You oh Lord, and in Christ Jesus’ holy name I pray, amen.
Prayer for Humility
God our Father, You know our hearts and that they can easily deceive us (Jer 17:9), and we don’t always realize that we are taking credit for things that You have done and not we.
I know I have done this before so please forgive me for when I have, and perhaps, for the time I do it again, but help those worship leaders in our church understand that You will resist anyone that is full of pride (James 4:6), and that Your grace is water; it always flows downhill to the lowly, the meek, the humble, and broken in spirit. We have nothing that we did not receive from You God, so what could we ever boast about (1st Cor 4:7)? Help me, help our church, and help our church leaders remain small in our own eyes and to recognize the danger of exalting ourselves which could bring a great fall from grace; so I pray for these things for Your glory and for the glory of Jesus Christ’s name, amen.
Prayer for Purity
Righteous God, I know Your desire is that we live holy lives that are pleasing to You. Not sinless lives, but give us help to sin less by Your Spirit so that we can be salt and light to others who need this image of Jesus Christ so that they might be drawn to Him.
Help, by Your Spirit, our worship leaders to be able to lead diligent lives that remain above reproach and help them to avoid those things in the world that tempt. We know the enemy has a mark on the leadership of the church, but also on their families.I pray they put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6) every day and keep the pulls of the flesh and the pride of life from overwhelming them Lord.
I ask Your hand to be upon them and their families and to hedge them in from the enemy who seeks to destroy their family, their ministry, and their witness for Jesus Christ and it is in His precious name I pray, amen.
Prayer for Peace
Father, there isn’t very much peace in the world today. There is so much violence. In fact, there is no real, true, lasting peace. It comes and it goes, but we thank You God that You give us Your peace. This peace came from Jesus’ own life and death (Rom 5:1), without which we would have no hope of ever having a relationship with You.
I pray for these worship leaders and their families to have the peace of God, which You say surpasses all human understanding (Phil 4:7), and that they are at peace with You but also at peace with their family, which is their first earthly priority.
Father, these worship leaders and their families are often under the microscope of others, so please help the church to not expect them to be perfect, and only human they are, but still, as being those whom He has sovereignly placed as He pleased. It was not our decision Lord, so let us give these worship leaders the respect You say they are worthy of.
So we pray for the worship leaders to live a life of peace in Christ, and we pray in Jesus’ holy name, amen.
Perhaps you could leave a comment and give us one of your own short prayers for worship leaders. I am sure I missed some points that you have thought about that I didn’t, so please include those too. We can never have enough prayers to pray for our church leaders and for their families. Besides, if it blesses them, it blesses the whole church.
Article by Pastor Jack Wellman
12 Simple, Yet Powerful Prayers for Your Church
Jesus is alive, and he is building his church (Matt. 16:18).
Jesus’ church is built upon his life, death, burial, and resurrection. It is through the proclamation of this message—the gospel—that the church will either visibly rise or fall.
The gospel is of first importance for the church (1 Cor. 15:1–11). The Church may have a variety of differences, but there’s one common denominator between them all: We are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
The gospel renews people who are burdened with sin and discouraged by the struggles of life.
The gospel offers hope for those who have succumbed to the darkness of despair and helplessness.
And the gospel performs the greatest miracle of all:
It introduces people to Jesus who will transform them into new creations in him.
Jesus is inviting you to participate in his work.
One of the most significant ways we are called to participate in God’s work today is to pray for the Church.
We are to…
Pray for the Church.
Pray for our church family.
Pray for the body of Christ in our community and around the world.Jesus’ church has stood the test of time. It cannot be stopped by force, political pressure, or even political correctness. It has weathered tumultuous years and lived through multiple heretical diseases.
Jesus will continue to build his church until he returns in glory to redeem his bride, and absolutely nothing or no one can stand in his way.
As you read this post, we encourage you to join us in prayer for the Church.
If you can, take a moment to put down your phone, start a prayer meeting, and take a break from whatever you’re doing to pray through these prayer points for your church, churches in your community, and churches around the world.
1 Samuel 2:1-10:
“And Hannah prayed and said, 'My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. 'There is none holy the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock our God.
Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.
'He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.'”
1 Peter 1:3:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.”
Psalm 51:7, 10-12:
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
“O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.”
“I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.”
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
“Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us—that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.”
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.”
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
1 John 5:14:
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
“And [Jesus] said to them, ‘When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.’”
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
2 Timothy 4:2:
“Preach the word; be ready in season and season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant.
He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.”
“And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
2 Corinthians 2:14-16:
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?”
2 Corinthians 9:12-15:
“For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.
By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”