Three things to pray for your pastor

By Noel Jesse  •  Jun 8, 2020 at 7:12am  •  Article

I am not a fan of blog posts like this one and I just want to get that out of the way up front. It just seems a bit self serving for a pastor to ask you to pray for your pastor. But I’ll take the hit for this one because I have been talking to a lot of pastors lately and they need your prayers. 

Desperately. 

Your pastor always needs your prayers, quite frankly, but this moment feels weightier. In my experience, a lot of people ask pastors to pray for them but very few ask “how can I pray for you?”

So if you are looking for a prayer list for your pastor, may I humbly suggest you pray for the following three things?

Pray for faith and wisdom.

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5–6)

Your pastor’s inbox is filling up with opinions from “armchair clergy” right now. In fact, he may even dread opening his email on Monday mornings (and I often advise that pastors don’t). There are people he loves and respects who think the church should open its doors right now and others who are pleading with him to wait. He is juggling the voices of elder boards, congregants, health officials, and politicians. He is weighing the health needs of the most vulnerable in his congregation with his longing to see your face in person. And now, in the midst of a pandemic, he is comforting traumatized black members of his congregation, while trying to process his own thoughts and convictions, and he probably feels like he is doing it all wrong. Seminary didn’t train him for this and the surging sea of counterpoints can cause him to doubt his calling and make the “Help Wanted” sign at Home Depot look really appealing. 

  • Pray that his faith will hold strong. 
  • Pray that God will grant him wisdom. 
  • And when he acts on that wisdom, pray that he withstands the fiery arrows of those who disagree.

Pray for his family

(A pastor) must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? (1 Timothy 3:4–5)

Smack dab in the middle of the Bible’s job description for a pastor is this simple phrase: he must manage his own household well. If a pastor has a family, how he leads and loves them is a core qualification for the job. This makes perfect sense because the church is a family of families and there is a sense in which he is a “church dad.” The thing is, just like most of us, he has likely been working from home during this crisis. How has that been going for you? Exactly. 

  • Pray that he will lovingly lead his family well. 
  • Pray that he will lay his life down for his wife (Ephesians 5:25).
  • Pray that he won’t exasperate his children (Ephesians 6:4).

Pray for his walk with the Lord

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7–10)

Your pastor is a Christian, first and foremost. He likely didn’t get into this gig because he couldn’t pass his forklift certification. He’s a pastor because he is compelled by the notion that proclaiming the message of the Gospel and shepherding Jesus’s church is worth all the hardships. But he’s still just a person, with all the requisite temptations and weaknesses. This season is uniquely challenging for everyone and he is not exempt. But he was made for this moment. He was called for this moment. He probably feels weak right now and needs to be spiritually refreshed to lead God’s people. 

  • Pray that he would know deep down in his bones that Jesus’ grace is sufficient for him.
  • Pray that his time in the Word and prayer would be rich and life giving and wouldn’t be pushed out by the tyranny of the urgent.
  • Pray that he wouldn’t be ashamed of his weaknesses, but would put them on display and boast about them for the sake of Christ.

And to all the pastors out there: I love you and I am praying for you. You’ve got this.

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