Please Pray for Your Pastors
On one occasion (Mark 9:14-29), nine of Jesus’ disciples were approached by a father requesting they cast a demon out of his son. Jesus and the other three were on the mountaintop experiencing the transfiguration while the remaining nine were left behind.
Although they were authorizied and empowered to preach (Mark 3:14-15; 6:7, 13), heal the sick, and cast out demons, in this instance, they failed. Jesus said these disciples were weak because they did not pray (Mark 9:28-29). They had access to God’s power, but they did not tap into God’s power.
Believers who depend on their own strength and resources are weak believers. Even pastors. Pastors need to prioritize prayer in their own life.
E. M. Bounds wrote, “The pulpit of this day is weak in praying. The pride of learning is against the dependent humility of prayer. Prayer is with the pulpit too often only official – a performance for the routine of service. Prayer is not the modern pulpit the mighty force that it was in Paul’s life or Paul’s ministry. Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to project God’s cause to this world.” (https://www.hopefaithprayer.com/books/Power-Through-Prayer-EM-Bounds.pdf, p. 7, retrieved March 16, 2018).
Encourage your pastor to pray, and be sure you’re praying for your pastor. Their job is not easy, and they face many demands and challenges. Plus, Satan would love to add another moral failure to his list. We forget pastors are human and are tempted just as anyone else.
Just this week, I heard about two more pastors under the gun, one being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior and another who admitted an affair. God help us!
There’s an often-shared story about London preacher Charles Spurgeon. He was blessed with a tremendous ministry and was a powerful preacher.
He was often asked the secret of his impact. He would always respond, “My people pray for me.” Could your pastor say that with absolute certainty?
How can you pray for your pastor? How can you hold him up? The following are some specific ways to pray for pastor:
Pray for your pastor’s personal walk with God, for growth in holiness and Christlikeness, and for time to study the Bible, not for sermon ideas, but for his own spiritual nurture.
Pray for your pastor’s family, and for quality time with family.
Pray for your pastor’s other relationships, especially with church leaders.
Pray for your pastor’s influence and impact in the community.
Pray for your pastor’s protection from temptation and from discouragement.
Pray for your pastor’s physical health.
Pray for your pastor to have a thick skin that withstands negativity.
Pray for your pastor to have friends that fend off loneliness and that give support and encouragement.
Thom Rainer is president of Lifeway Christian Resources and writes a blog that appears regularly at thomrainer.com and other sites. One was entitled, “11 Specific Ways to Pray for Your Pastor.” Thanks to Dr. Rainer for permission to add his list to the list above.
Pray for wisdom. Pastors are often confronted with incredibly challenging situations.
Pray for protection. The enemy attacks pastors in so many different ways.
Pray for your pastor’s family. They, also, are attacked and subject to loneliness and discouragement.
Pray for strength to stand firm against critics and bullies. Even churches have critics and bullies.
Pray for discouragement from comparison. When members come to the pastor and talk about the great church across town, often the pastor hears, “You’re not measuring up.”
Pray against discouragement from members leaving. It’s hard not to take it personally, and even harder when it is personal.
Pray against discouragement from decline. Two out of three churches in America are declining.
Pray against discouragement from disunity. Putting out fires and refereeing turf tug-of-wars drain a pastor’s energy.
Pray for discernment for “yes” and “no.” Pastors are pulled in a multitude of directions and need wisdom to know when to show up and when to stay home with his family.
Pray for financial pressures.
Pray for gospel opportunities. Most pastors love to share, but the demands of daily ministry often eat up their time. Pray they will make time to visit and share Jesus.