What are the important actions of a Jesus follower? I could answer that with a number of ideas: sharing faith with lost persons, stewarding God’s resources, and studying the Bible. I know you can argue with me, but I think the most important work of a believer is prayer. Prayer does many things, some of which include:
- Aligning my life with God’s will.
- Uniting me with other believers.
- Acknowledging my dependence on God.
- Asking for God’s resources to do God’s work.
- Yielding my life to the leadership of God.
- Submitting to the Holy Spirit.
In this installment, consider how to pray for your pastor. Help your small group pray for your church’s pastor (and ministerial staff) in some areas (in no particular order) like these. Pray for your pastor’s:
- Study time. Ask God to protect his study time and make it effective.
- Pastoring is stressful. He needs his health and his rest.
- The enemy often attacks pastors’ marriages.
- Ask God to help him find time for his family, to lead in disciplining his own children, and protecting his family from cruel criticism.
- Walk with the Lord. Without a strong walk with the Lord, the pastor’s life is vulnerable and will go dry. The pastor’s spiritual life will often set the spiritual temperature of the church.
- Ask God to him help be wise and loving toward those who are critical. Pray that criticism will cease.
- Ask God to help him and his wife to set spending limits, save, and give liberally. Finances are huge issues for pastors and their families.
- Sermon delivery at every service. Many pastors have to deliver three or more awesome, original sermons each week. How do they do it? Ask God to help them preach and teach effectively.
- Daily activities. This includes study, funerals, sick visitation, evangelism, planning, committee and staff related work, meeting the public, counseling, Church Software management, and . . . Just think and you can add many more here.
Make time on a regular basis to pray for your pastor in small group meetings. Do not use the time to critique the pastor. Use it to lift him up to the Lord. Encourage your group members to set aside specific times of prayer for your pastor. I once prayed for my pastor on the 14th of every month. I was born on the 14th of a month and that date was easy to remember. Sometimes I put a dime in my shoe so I prayed for him every time I felt that dime that day. Encourage group members to tell their pastor that they are praying for him. Ask them to actually pray with the pastor when they can catch an appropriate time. Talk with them, study with them, as them about christian university, about their favourite type of tea, humanise them.
I want to add a personal note here. I have never been a senior pastor or the pastor of a church. But I have spent twenty years serving churches as a staff minister. During those years I have heard several pastors passionately asking the congregation for prayers. However, I never heard a pastor encourage the congregation to pray for all their ministers. Though I was primarily a youth minister, I too, was a pastor, just not the senior pastor. I have never thought a pastor’s asking for prayer was an intentional slight to staff ministers, but I also remember many times when my heart was crying for prayer support at those very times. Senior pastors have the toughest job. Please pray for them. Most believers in our country attend churches where the church only has a pastor. But, if you are in a larger church with the wonderful blessing of multiple ministers, keep praying for your pastor and for every minister serving your church.
Scripture: Read Ezekiel 34. In this passage, the prophet was comparing the wicked shepherds who have mistreated and abandoned the people of God with Father God who shepherded His people in love and care. Meditate on this chapter and use it to pray for your pastor.
Dig Deeper: Talk to your pastor about praying for him. Ask him some questions to gather prayer requests from him: What are some ways I can pray for you? What is the critical day of the week when I need to pray for you the most? What tasks are ahead of you that I can pray for?