Prayer for Our Pastors

Scripture is full of counsel, not the least of which is to pray. I’m becoming more aware how powerful prayer is. I mean, I have a chance to tell my woes to the Person most interested, the One who loves me most, and the Individual most capable of doing something about my concerns.

There’s just one little catch. God wants my requests to be aligned with His will. So how do I know if it’s God’s will for me to do this or that, go here or go there? I found myself tacking on, “if it’s your will,” to many of my prayer requests, which gave me an out for believing that God might or might not answer when I asked Him stuff.

But my new understanding of the power of prayer has directed me toward praying for things I know TO BE God’s will. The Bible is packed with stuff I can pray for with complete confidence that my requests are aligned with God’s will. For example, is it His will for a Christian to be salt in the world? Then why don’t I pray for my fellow believers to be salt? More to the point, why don’t I pray that I will be salt?

When it comes to pastors, there’s a couple really cool verses in Ephesians that guide my prayers these days. After telling the believers in Ephesus to pray for all the saints, Paul goes on to say this:

and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
– Eph 6:19-20

Why am I zeroing in on pastors? Because the church seems to be taking a lot of criticism of late. The world has a low view of Christians, and many Christians have a low view of themselves, or at least of the church.

Add to the mix that more and more false teachers are going about saying they have a new twist on the old gospel message. Or they have a better understanding than what Christians have had for the last two thousand years.

How, I started to wonder, have churches that once preached the gospel become nothing more than social clubs advocating some kind of moral tolerance or ethical righteousness? How have so many watered down Scripture? How is it that a growing number of professing Christians no longer read the Bible any more, apart from a few favorite passages around Easter time or Christmas?

Could it be that the problem starts with our preachers?

Actually no. I suggest it starts with lay people who do not pray for our pastors and teachers. What if we pray that God would give our pastors pronouncements or proclamations when they open their mouths to preach so that they boldly disclose to us the mysteries of the gospel? What if we claim them as ambassadors and ask God on their behalf to enable them to speak as they ought to speak?

My guess is, those pastors would not succumb to false teaching or trade in preaching the Word of God for some other gospel. My guess is, all of us in their congregations would hear revealed truth, delivered with power, even if it makes us uncomfortable. No more “preaching to the choir.” Not if we pray for our pastors according to God’s will.

Published in: on July 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm  Comments (4)  
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  1. I agree wholeheartedly with the need to pray for our pastors and our preachers, but we should not limit those prayers to just making sure they speak the Truth from the pulpit, at least not in the case of pastors. They’re job, as overseers and shepherds, is so much more.

    The Bible separates the roles of pastor and preacher, as we read in Ephesians 4:11, though Paul tells Timothy that “elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. (1 Tim 5:17)” So, pastors–or elders, the title is for the same office–can be preachers, but they are not one and the same.

    Elders have the responsibility to “shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers.” (1 Peter 5:2) They are the qualified men Paul describes to Timothy and Titus who are responsible for the spiritual health of the congregation. Our prayers should be that they govern wisely and by example, that they hold fast to sound doctrine so they may be able to exhort and convict those who contradict, that they submit themselves to the Chief Shepherd, and that the congregation they are over obey their leadership, so the elders may serve with joy and not grief. (Heb 13:17)

    The eldership is a great responsibility, and not all are qualified to perform it. But good elders are a blessing to a congregation, and Christians should pray for men to desire the office, and for the success of their elders.


  2. Oh, I agree. With Becky and Kameron. 🙂

    I have been guilty at different times in my life of not praying for my elders. And they really need prayer. They really have a heavy burden–they must give account for the souls they are charged with keeping. Yikes! I have two kids that I’ve neglected. I can’t imagine what it be like to bear the burden of trying to feed and train a churchful of people.

    And I think you are right, Becky. If they preach so as to boldly disclose the mysteries of the gospel, we’ll all grow strong. That’s the food we need.


  3. Being the wife of a pastor, I cannot stress enough how much prayer my husband and the elders of any church need. And its not just prayer to speak the Word in truth or lead.

    -They need prayer for humility (pride can be a huge issue when everything is going right in a church),

    -Prayer for strength (it can be easy to rely on one’s own),

    -Prayer for discernment (to do God’s will, not their own)

    -Prayer for their families (and encouragement for pastors to not just spend time with the church, but their family as well… you would not believe how much pressure a pastor has to do church things to the point he neglects his family… pastors need the freedom and encouragement to spend time with their families).

    There is a war raging out there and our pastors/elders are on the front lines. And so they desperately need our prayers.


  4. Great comments. Kameron, thanks for the reminder that we should pray for all of our church leaders.

    Sally, the book of James says exactly what you said—that teachers of the word are held accountable for not just what they say but how they live. They carry a heavy load.

    Morgan, you’ve added an important point too, elaborating on what Kameron said. We need to pray more than Eph. 6:19-20. There are lots of other things Scripture says that apply to our pastor-teachers.

    Are they husbands? Then we should pray that they will love their wives as Christ loves the church. Are they fathers? Then we should pray that they don’t provoke their children to anger. We should pray that they don’t quench the Holy Spirit, that they speak the truth in love, and so many other clear statements of God’s will for our lives.

    Pastors aren’t exempt and they can’t do their ministry without the support of those they lead.



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