According to Lifeway Research, 72% of pastors say they need to invest in consistent, personal prayer time. Chad Keck, pastor at First Baptist Church Kettering, joins Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, to discuss the Greatest Needs of Pastors study and how he’s learned to pray as a pastor.
Ben Mandrell: Skill development has been identified as one of the pastor’s greatest needs. What’s a specific skill related to ministry that you’ve had to learn and grow in?
Chad Keck: Prayer. Prayer, without a question. It’s interesting to me that when Jesus gets his disciples together, of all of the things that they could say, “Jesus teach me to do…”
I would be like, “Teach me to preach like that, because that Sermon on the Mount was rocking. I need to know how to preach like that.” Right? Or “Teach me how to worship,” or, “Teach me how to evangelize.” All great things. But they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” They saw something in Jesus’ prayer life that was missing in their own prayer life. And they said, “That’s where the power is. That’s where the source of relationship is.”
So for me, I really learned to pray when my daughter was born. She was born premature and spent 108 days in the NICU. And when you are faced with a situation where there’s not anything you can do— there’s no more medicine, there are no new doctors, there’s no other hospital, there’s no procedure—and it’s literally just you on your knees before the Lord, you learn to pray with desperateness. And I think that has spilled over into my ministry and really just learning how to pray and seek the face of the Lord.
Mandrell: You know, I’d never really thought about that ’till you just put it that way. When we see somebody really skilled at something, we always think, “Man, I wish they would teach me how to do that.” We don’t get Jesus’ voice in the Bible, but clearly, the disciples heard Him pray and they were like, “How does He do that? I wish He could teach us how to do that.”
Keck: And also right before that, they were like, “We want like John’s disciples—they have prayer…” And so they’re like, “We want to know how does this… what’s the deal here.”
Mandrell: Yeah, that’s really good. Man, that’s a good word for today too, because so many of the things happening in ministry are beyond our control. And a lot of the reasons our ministries succeed or fail have nothing to do with our leadership, but things that only God could provide or give, or, you know, fill in a blank where there was no answer.
Keck: Right. And you know, in John Jesus is talking about “remaining in me,” “abiding in me.” To me, that’s obviously being in the word, but it’s also being in prayer. It’s learning to abide, because he who abides in Jesus bears much fruit because apart from Him, we can do nothing. And sometimes I think we just think, “Well, we can do some things. Maybe we can’t do everything apart from Him, but man, I’m pretty good at XYZ.”
But the scripture is really clear. Any fruit, any eternal, spiritual fruit— maybe there are some things that look like fruit that, you know, in the short term look good— but any eternal, spiritual fruit I believe is going to happen because we’ve abided in Christ and Christ has grown that fruit in or through our lives.
It’s not anything that we’ve done. We don’t have anything to brag about or boast about, except for what Christ has done.
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