“Alcohol, Addiction, and the CRC Pastor.” This was the title of an article I recently received in my inbox. The blog openly addresses the intense battle many pastors face with alcohol and how this season of Covid has only accentuated the problem for many in church leadership. It makes me wonder–if shepherds are falling into this addictive trap, how many of the sheep are struggling as well?
Here in South Africa many experience the same struggles with alcohol and addiction. If fact, for a few months during lockdown all liquor stores were closed due to the sad reality that more people were in the emergency rooms for alcohol related abuse than from Covid. If the list of addictive agents is expanded to include social media, pornography, food, drugs, fill in your own addiction of choice, another criss of pandemic proportions is set before us.
The pain of the pandemic has pushed many to succumb to a temporary solace, a worldly fix that will only spiral into deeper despair and eventually destruction of the soul. How do we navigate this uncertain, painful world we live in where all the foundations we have stood on seem to be crumbling?
I believe a key component necessary to ground us particularly during this time of uncertainty can be found in the request of the disciples in Luke 11:1, “Lord teach us to pray!” Perhaps some of you are thinking that such an answer seems rather simplistic for such a complex issue like addictions. Yet, I strongly believe this powerful request leads to the Father’s plan of breaking through the bondage of addiction and living in freedom as sons and daughters of the the Eternal King.
This phrase, “Lord teach us to pray” is so unconventional. This band of disciples who hung around Jesus did not ask Him to instruct them on how to teach or how to preach, how to heal the sick, how to drive out demons, etc, so why how to pray? What did these followers observe in Jesus’ life and ministry that would prompt them to ask this? Do you think the right prayer and prayer life can break the powerful stronghold of addictions, why are why not?
I welcome you to share your thoughts on why the disciples asked Jesus this particular question.
I invite you to make the same request of Jesus: Ask Him to teach you to pray.
I look forward to sharing more insights on this relevant topic in next week’s blog.