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     But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.“ Jonah 4:1-3

Dear Lord Jesus, Jonah’s story stirs our hearts to pray for tired and depleted friends serving in various forms gospel ministry. To the occupied throne of grace, we bring missionaries and pastors, elders and deacons, teachers and counselors—a wide range of friends you’ve called to minister the gospel of your grace.

Some of them simply need good rest, a break and better boundaries. Many of them are on the verge of living Jonah’s story: In their heads they still know you to be a God who is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” But in their hearts they are displeased and angry, disconnected and disillusioned; and a few, like Jonah, aren’t sure they want many more days in this world. Have mercy, on them, Lord; have great mercy today.

Jesus, you know all the issues. You know what’s under the anger; what’s compounding the contempt; and what’s fueling the flight. Meet these dear servants of yours right where they are. We pray for their spouses and children as well, for sometimes it’s the family members who suffer ministry pangs the most.

Comfort them with your compassion and grace. Rekindle hope and perspective in their hurting hearts. Where needed, may your kindness drive them to the freedom of repentance, wisdom and humility. Refresh and restore them, by whatever means of grace you choose.

Until you return, Jesus, Satan will continue to mount an all-out assault against you, by attacking your bride; directed especially towards those called to nourish and prepare your church for the great Wedding Day.

Satan knows he’s lost us for eternity, so he will do anything and everything within his power to bring havoc, heartache, and hell. Use us, however you choose, to encourage your servants, and all the more as we see that great Day approaching. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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