How do you pray for the man appointed to preach the first Sunday after his pastor suddenly dies?

I had the honor of knowing my pastoral mentor, Jackson Boyett, because of my dear friend and fellow church member Greg Van Court.  Greg came from Jackson’s church and was affirmed for ministry by him, which is how he ended up in Louisville at SBTS and at our church.  After Greg received word of Jackson’s death, he got on a plane to go and grieve with Jackson’s congregation, Dayspring Fellowship.  Not long after arriving, he was asked to do a seemingly impossible task…preach the next Sunday in the place of their late beloved shepherd of 33 years.  Unable to be with Greg in Austin, Texas and support him I felt a burden to just pray and send him my prayer for him in this unique situation.  Here is what I sent:

Father and God of all comfort,

May you remind Greg today of your steadfast love as he not only continues to grieve this deep loss, but aspires to do that which seems impossible to do…preach in Dayspring’s pulpit the first Sunday after.  Remind him, O God, of your kind and certain providence in this divine appointment and that you would work mightily beyond what we can ask or think as he goes to this task. 

Guide his heavy heart and mind to pick the sermon you desire, the text you desire to use to meet every need you desire to meet in your hurting people Sunday.  Use Greg to give people hope that only comes from our Savior, the only One who paid for our sins, rose to give us hope and new life, but is also the one their beloved shepherd, Jackson, now worships at the throne and has unhindered fellowship with Christ, with his wife at his side. 

May this picture at your throne of grace fill Greg and Sandra, and all those present with the hope we indeed can have because of Christ even in the face of unspeakable loss.  Use Greg in his great weakness Sunday to be your mouthpiece and may the power of Christ in his weakness be evident to Greg and the broken saints at Dayspring longing for a word from you. 

Be faithful, O God, to speak that word.  Remind them they have not been abandoned.  Remind them you are still God.  Remind them you have not left your throne for a moment through these events.  Meet with your people in a way that only comes from your people who gather together to eagerly desire your presence.  May Jackson and Barbara be remembered, but may Christ be exalted and the great God you truly are and that the Boyetts gave their whole being to worship and serve faithfully until the end be most known and magnified on Sunday.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

God was indeed faithful to equip Greg for the task.  The gospel work continues at Dayspring, just as Jackson would have wanted.  To God alone be praised!

Posted in Oversight of Souls, Preaching, The Pastor's Soul
One comment on “How do you pray for the man appointed to preach the first Sunday after his pastor suddenly dies?
  1. It was a profound, edifying and Christ-exalting sermon indeed!

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