In Hebrews 13 we are told that pastors must give an account for those they watch over (Hebrew 13:7). We see this again in the epistle of James where we are told that pastors/elders will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1) as they have tremendous influence over the church. Pastors/elders have been given a very weighty task – to shepherd God’s people (Acts 20:28). This is an enormous responsibility that at times can be daunting. Certainly there is great joy in pastoral ministry. It is a tremendous privilege and blessing to shepherd God’s people. However, at the same time, the toll of ministry can truly cause pastors/elders to become overwhelmed, discouraged, and even burnt out. It is so important that we lift our pastors/elders up in prayer regularly, asking God to guide their every step.
Here are a few ways we can do this:
Pray For Their Walk with Jesus
It is important that we pray for our pastor’s spiritual growth. We want them to be the men are walking closely with Jesus and who are striving to be more and more like Him everyday. Over the years the church has had it’s fair share of pastors who have fallen in moral failure. Certainly we do not want this to be true of our pastors. However, sin and temptation are never far away (Genesis 4:7). Therefore, it ought to be our prayer that God would guard our pastor’s hearts from sin. The Bible calls for our pastors to be men who are above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6 ) and that needs to be our regular prayer for them. This includes all areas of their lives – family relationships, work relationship, personal friendships, and ultimately their walk with Jesus.
Pray For Their Preaching
Every week our pastors stand before their congregations and preach God’s Word (hopefully). This is one of the most important, if not the most important, things they do. God’s Word is spiritual nourishment to God’s people. It helps them to grow into mature, healthy believers. Therefore, it is important that the church is served a hearty portion of God’s Word each week. Pray then, that God would guide our pastors each week in their sermon preparation and study. Pray that they would rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) each time they step into the pulpit. And most importantly, pray that God would be magnified and that we would grow through the preaching of God’s Word.
Pray For Their Leadership
There are many decisions to be made, people to counsel, and problems to solve as elders in pastoral leadership. In each instance we want our pastors to lead wisely and in a way that honors God. We want them to be moving in the direction that God would have them go. This requires prayer. We need to pray that God would grant great wisdom to our pastors as they lead the church (James 1:5), meet with individuals, and plans for the future. We want each step our pastors make to be guided by God.
Prayer is a crucial component to the Christian life and your pastors/elders need to be included in your regular prayers. Don’t just think of your pastors/elders as the ones who should be praying for and helping you – they are just as much in need of prayer as any person. Never stop praying for your pastors/elders. they covet your prayers, needs your prayers, and your prayers will have an impact.