Prayer Shield #2—How to Pray for Your Pastor:
“Brethren, pray for us.” (1 Thess. 5:25).
I am convinced that most church members have little or no appreciation of the cost of being a pastor… If God is going to raise up a new army of intercessors who will support pastors and other Christian leaders in effective, fervent prayer, these intercessors need to know both the scope and they urgency of the task ahead of them… Over the past couple of decades, an alarming number of pastors have dropped out of the ministry for two main reasons: pastoral burnout and sexual immorality. The numbers have reached epidemic proportions.
Pastors Need Intercession. Every Christian needs intercession. But I do want to argue that pastors and other Christian leaders need intercession more than ordinary members of the Body of Christ. This may sound strange, but let me propose five reasons why I believe it is true.
1. Pastors Have More Responsibility and Accountability
Most of us Christian leaders get chills up and down our spines when we read James 3:1: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” All Christians will come before the judgment seat of Christ, but pastors and other leaders have been forwarned that there is a divine double standard. One for “teachers” and one for all the rest. Accepting a position of leadership in the Christian world is running a risk. Sin becomes more dangerous than ever before.
2. Pastors Are More Subject to Temptation
The higher up you go on the ladder of Christian leadership, the higher you go on Satan’s hit list.
3. Pastors Are More Targeted by Spiritual Warfare
The devil is characterized as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. If he has a choice, he will devour a leader before he will devour anyone else. And he will use every weapon in his arsenal to do it.
4. Pastors Have More Influence on Others
The fourth reason why pastors need intercession more than other Christians is that by the very nature of their ministry they have more influence on others. If a pastor falls, more people are hurt and set back in their spiritual lives than if others fall. The ripple effect is incredibly devastating. Strong Christians are crushed by the hypocrisy and betrayal they feel. Weak Christians take the pastor’s behaviour as a license for them to do likewise…
5. Pastors Have More Visibility
Because pastors are up front, they are constantly subject to gossip and criticism. when church members have Sunday dinner, the pastor and the sermon of the morning are frequent topics of conversation… The pastor is closely observed and it is no secret. Just knowing this places a difficult burden on pastors and they need supernatural help to handle that situation well. Intercession opens the way for them to receive this help.
Intercession Improves Ministry: About 89 percent of those surveyed indicated that the prayer had caused a positive change in their ministry effectiveness. They reported more effectiveness in the use of their particular spiritual gifts, a higher level of positive response to their ministry, more discernment and wisdom from God, increased wholeness and completeness in Christ, improved attitudes, more evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, better personal prayer lives and heightened leadership skills. Pastors and other Christian leaders are needy people. But they are God’s chosen ones to move His Kingdom forward. Faithful and intelligent intercession can release them to be all God wants them to be.
How do we pray for our pastors?
- Sun: Favour with God (spiritual revelation, anointing, holiness)
- Mon: Favour with others (congregation, ministry staff, unsaved)
- Tues: Increased vision (wisdom, enlightenment, motives, guidance)
- Wed: Spirit, Soul, Body (health, attitudes, spiritual wholeness)
- Thurs: Protection (temptation, deception, enemies)
- Fri: Finances (priorities, blessings)
- Sat: Family (general, spouse, children)
“No matter how well you pay your pastor, praise him or work for him, it is only through earnest, strategic prayer that you can ever really help him be an effective minister in the hands of Almighty God.” (Will Bruce, Pastors Need Prayer, Too).
(Today’s devotional material condensed from the book Prayer Shield by Peter Wagner)