Now that I’m back from the 2011 Desiring God Conference for Pastors, here are some reflections on each of the messages.
Session 1 – Cultivating Private Prayer as a Pastor – Joel Beeke
This was a great kick off session, full of quotes and much practicality. I really felt conviction of my lack of prayerlessness through this sermon. His two paths of application were Take Hold of Self and Take Hold of God. Matt Perman tweeted that this was the best sermon on prayer he’s ever heard. I am in relative agreement, although this wasn’t an exposition as much as a topical unfolding of the subject of prayer.
Session 2 – Helping Your People Discover the Praying Life – Paul Miller
If you’ve read Miller’s book, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, then this session will be a helpful, one talk summary of all that this book teaches. It was really encouraging as well.
Session 3 – Prayer as a Way of Walking in Love: A Personal Journey – Francis Chan
This talk was a testimony of sorts as to how Chan has experienced answered prayer in his walk with the Lord. Great question in this talk was “Do you still believe God answers prayer?” Very motivational to the practice of prayer.
I love these biographical messages by Piper each year. This year’s didn’t disappoint. He weaved what made this young man burn with passion for God by showing his conversion and preparation for a young life. It ended up looking at the place of prayer in McCheyne’s life. Again, very encouraging.
Session 5 – Leading Family Worship – Joel Beeke
This talk had 4 goals: to lay out a paradigm for family worship, to discuss the practice of it, to lead us to preach on this and to consider more effective ways of training others in this. This talk was replete with practical ways one could go about practicing family worship.
Session 6 – Unreached Peoples and the Power of Prayer – Jerry Rankin
Another highlight of the DG conference is the missions talk or how does the subject of the conference relate to the fulfilling of the Great Commission. Rankin gave a call for us to go about obeying the Great Commission and realize that as we pray for the nations God might be changing our hearts to go ourselves.
Session 7 – Q & A – Speakers Panel
The conference typically wraps up with a session dealing with some questions the conference inspired. Helpful way to review and hear about the subject matter again.
Overall Reflection: I loved attending this conference. DG always does a great job of leading us in singing, giving us opportunities to pray and helping us think through subject matters. I personally would have liked to see more Biblical expositions, but found the messages helpful. I think, also, that sometimes commendations were confused with commands. It’s easy for pastors (especially) to treat applications as matters of obeying or disobeying what God has actually said. There was some blurring of that. However, these are minor assessments. Overall, I know that I need to be about the work of prayer in ministry and this conference helped give me avenues to flesh this out more in my life.