It’s been a long-asked question that I haven’t always had a ready answer for. I’m going to try today. It’s the question that your people sometimes ask when they say, “How can we pray for you, pastor?”
I love that people believe in prayer, and that they pray for me. More than love, I’m grateful. Even eternally grateful!
However, I’m not sure I’ve always been helpful in answering that question. The Apostle Paul, on the other hand, had a good answer to it. I first read about this take on praying for your pastor in “Sparkling Gems of the New Testament Greek.” It’s an excellent article. Here’s my adaptation:
It’s said that prayer is the best thing you can do for a man. And that praying for someone increases your love for them. I believe it. Do it for both reasons.
“..strive together with me in your prayers for me…” (Rom. 15:30) To strive is to “do battle.” It means to wrestle or agonize together against the enemy. The same way we wrestle over sin or temptation, we’re to battle for our pastors and spiritual leaders against all that would hold them back. We are so much more powerful together. And the spiritual war, as you know, is intense.
“that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient…” (Romans 15:31) Persecution and pressure are real. My pastor friends in India know the importance of this prayer more than I do. Their bodies bear the scars of violent encounters. But we all need this kind of praying on our behalf, no matter where we serve. Pray for boldness and freedom from fear from unbelievers, from government, from those who are enemies of the cross.
“…and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints…” (Romans 15:31b) Every spiritual leader wants to bless, build up and equip the saints. That’s no easy task. It requires supernatural power and anointing. Pray for power, for ability, for authenticity and receptivity.
“…so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.” (Romans 15:32) Sometimes spiritual leaders lose their joy. Joy is lost from personal disappointment, from weariness, from opposition – from sometimes standing alone. Some face broken relationships, abandonment, fractured churches, and the list goes on.
I’ve been blessed in so many ways, but I can tell you of many pastor friends who’ve fought off bitterness, disillusionment and some who have given up hope. They lost their joy. Praying for your spiritual leader or pastor to be able to have and retain the joy of serving Christ is huge.
The last part of that line is the “by the will of God…” portion. Every pastor knows he must be in the middle of the will of God for the Lord to maximize his life. I want that. I want to be so in the middle, that there is no chance of me slipping even the slightest degree out of alignment. Pray that for us as leaders.
There’s more. But this is a start. Begin here, and God may well open the window of your heart and mind to know more specifically how to lift up your pastor!
And…we’re grateful for every prayer, every moment spent asking God to do these things in our lives.
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.