DO PASTORS NEED PRAYER
Someone made a comment to me the other day about pastors and prayer. They wanted to know if pastors need prayer as much as lay people do to stay straight with God. My answer was, “Oh, yes!”
Pastors need plenty of prayer because they are on the front lines of warfare for the souls of man. They preach and teach, they encourage and correct, and they are the ones people turn to in times of trouble or decision making. Pastors don’t punch a time clock, at least not the caring pastors. Their phones ring day or night and people come to call unexpectedly because they just needed to talk. Pastors often balance the role of spouse, parent, and church leader.
Pastors study several hours for each sermon and/or study they present. (II Timothy 2:15) They research for hours to glean all the best information available to help you grow in God’s Word. They need prayer to keep them focused. They need prayer to stay faithful to their congregation and their ministries. More than anything, they need prayer that they will walk in the grace of God keeping His precepts and commands. They need prayer to maintain a humble and loving heart.
I think that a pastor who has no prayer backing is like a nature man fishing for his lunch with no hook. He can cast his line, but if there is no hook on the end to catch the fish with, it swims by unaware. Now, for the fish, that’s good news. For pastors trying to hook the unsaved people for Jesus, it’s not such good news. It’s tragic. The fish will live to swim another day. The fish is not made in the image and likeness of God, therefore, it has no soul that needs saving. Man is made in the image and likeness of God and has His attributes (or can develop them). Man has a soul and a spirit that needs saving. Praying for your pastor helps him or her to develop the hook it takes to be a fishers of men (Mark 1:17) and to keep that hook sharp.
Another reason to pray for your pastor is that the devil is always seeking to devour (I Peter 5:8) and deceive (Matthew 24:24) him or her. If the devil can bring down the leadership and authority of the church, he can bring down the church. Pastors need to be upheld before God in prayer so they remain strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10) for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16).
For some reason, people think that pastors have a direct hotline to God that gives them a special access before Him others don’t have. This is not true. All who are in Christ are able to come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). God doesn’t hear one person louder or pay more attention to his or her prayers because he or she is ordained. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). We were all given spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:7) with which to help each other. Some do have a special calling to pray. They are chosen intercessors; and if a pastor has one of those behind him or her, it’s a blessing from God but don’t get the idea this let’s you out of the responsibility to pray for your spiritual leaders. We all are to pray for our leaders (I Timothy 2:1, 2).
Do pastors need prayer? Absolutely, we do. Are you responsible to pray for your pastor(s)? Yes, and with love and a true heart for their spiritual growth, health, strength, success, and prosperity. Remember that your pastor is working for your improvement as well as his or her own.
Pastors are called to preach. Not all teachers are pastors, but all pastors teach. The Bible makes it clear that teachers receive a “greater condemnation” then lay people because they have accepted the responsibility to teach the truth of Christ (James 3:1). When they get to heaven and face Jesus, pastors will answer for every soul God gave them authority over to teach. They won’t have the option of saying, “Well, my pastor said so.” They are the pastors who did the saying.
I hope this helps you understand how important your role is in what your pastors learn and teach. Below I will give you a sample prayer from which you might model your prayers for your pastors. I will use the pronoun “she” for obvious reasons. Many of the people who follow my ministry have told me they pray for me daily. I am so grateful to each one. I know how difficult it would be to maintain a humble spirit without those prayers. You are my vanguard and I thank the Lord for every one of you.
PRAYER FOR YOUR PASTOR
Father, in the name of Jesus, I lift my pastor before You today. I pray that You will bless Pastor_____________ with every good gift she needs to fight the good fight of faith (I Timothy 6:12). I pray that she will continue to serve with a humble heart that she might receive Your grace (James 4:6).
I thank You for protecting Pastor____________ in Your secret place and for being her refuge and fortress (Psalm 91:1, 2). Pastor has made You her dwelling place, therefore, I pray that no evil thing will come against her or overcome her (Psalm 91:9, 10). When Pastor______________ calls upon Your name, Lord, honor her and deliver her from trouble, satisfy her, and give her long life (Psalm 91:15, 16).
Please show Pastor______________ how to make good use of her time every day. Keep her in the Word that she might have your Word in her heart (Psalm 119:11). Remind her by the nudging of Your Spirit to pray daily (asking) that she will not conform to this world, but continually be transformed so that she will remain in Your will for her (Romans 12:2).
I pray that You will strengthen Pastor’s family. Bring them into a deeper love relationship with You and with each other. Give them peace and harmony in their home. Let her not become so wrapped up in church that she neglects to spend quality time with her family and friends. I pray You will bless Pastor with spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental strength. Please give Pastor__________________ opportunities to be away from the church and the computer for periods of refreshing. Give her wisdom for making decisions that affect the church and her family, In Jesus’ name, amen and amen.
I could go on with this prayer, but just understand that all the things you require for a joyful healthy life, your pastor also needs. If you have the ability to make things easier for the pastor, please offer. Something as simple as making a nice meal for your pastor and family, and delivering it, can be so encouraging for them all. I can assure you, 95% of pastors in ministry are underpaid, so if your pastor has a financial need, see if you can meet it. If you personally can’t do it alone, see if you can find others to help you.
Love honor and respect your pastor. He or she was called into the ministry to serve God by serving you. Please don’t make this service any harder than it needs to be. Granted, some pastors are not easy people to get along with. In that case, move on. But if you have a good shepherd who loves you and nurtures you in the love and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), pray for him or her. The more you willingly pray for and serve your pastor, the better he or she will become in the ministry. God will pour out blessings upon each of you.
In service to the King joyfully,