I found a biography on Ray Stedman online- Portrait of Integrity: The Life of Ray C. Stedman by Mark S. Mitchell. You can find it here.
Some sound words from Ray for preachers:
“Again, the ministry of shepherding and teaching must be done without desiring personal glory. How well pastors know that right here is where the full force of temptation to pride can strike! There is something very pleasing to the ego to stand in front of others and have every eye fastened on you and every ear open to what you have to say. It is terribly easy to begin to crave that feeling and to find subtle ways of nurturing and encouraging it.
As a pastor I must confess that I had to stop the practice of going to the door after a service and greeting people as they went out. I found that when I did it regularly, it fed my ego in such a way that I had a terrible battle with pride. People were saying nice things to me and I found myself loving to hear them. It is very easy for a pastor or teacher to perform his ministry for hidden reasons of personal prestige or glory.” (Ray Stedman, Body Life (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Discovery House Publishers, 1995, 128-129.)
Last week in my sermon I suggest that our prayer life was critical to our theology. It has a way of bringing us into God’s presence and burning away the nonsense in our life. It cultivates a humility that is good for our theology.
I received several inquiries this week about how to cultivate a more consistent prayer life. I offer up these simple suggestions and a resource. The suggestions I have received in one form or another from others. I hope they help you.
The simple info first, then a resource for you.
1) Regularly scheduled times of prayer each day (ideally the same time). read a Psalm, journal the words of the Psalm in your own words and then spend time praying to the Father. Keep a list of requests. Also keep a list of things you think God may be saying to you during prayer. Look for confirmation of those things throughout the day. I usually fill about a page of a moleskin a day in this exercise. Maybe a half a page. You don’t want it to be a burden… you just want to be able to capture this part of your life.
2) Spontaneous prayer. this is stop lights, when the internet is down, ect. Sometimes it is when you feel crisis, need or anxiety… but it should be more than that. You want to cultivate a discipline of talking to God throughout the day. Becoming more aware of His presence in the ordinary times.
3) Corporate or group prayer. This can be with a couple of people or even just one. Find someone to pray with a couple of times a week. The purpose is to be able to share the conversation you have with God with someone else and for you to hear the conversation with God of someone else. I find I learn much about God when I hear his children speak to Him. Much like you would be able to discern much about me by listening to my children talk to me. It gives you a different insight.
I hope that helps. I am also including a website from a man named Ken Boa. He has some excellent guidance on prayer. He has even published a couple of books on prayer.
(look at the “daily growth” section)
Just discovered Scotty Smith’s blog. He’s the pastor for Worship, Preaching & Teaching at Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN. I was drawn to it particularly because his daily blog posts are prayers. Find his blog here.
Tim Challies has posted a great resource on praying the promises of God, Take Words With You, by Tim Kerr. You’ll want to download this! It’s free! Get praying!