I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15 (NRSV)
“Let the thought sink deep into the heart of every church, that their minister will be such a minister as their prayers make him. … How perilous is the condition of that minister … whose heart is not encouraged, whose hands are not strengthened, and who is not upheld by the prayers of his people! …
“It is at a fearful expense that ministers are ever allowed to enter the pulpit without being preceded, accompanied, and followed by the earnest prayers of the churches. It is no marvel that the pulpit is so powerless, and ministers so often disheartened when there are so few to hold up their hands. … When the churches cease to pray for ministers, ministers will no longer be a blessing to the churches.” Gardiner Spring (1785-1873)
There is no greater gift you can give your pastor and the spiritual leaders of your church than to pray for them. Pastors cannot win the battle alone; they need committed intercessors to lift them up in fervent, specific prayer. Imagine how the power of God might be released in our churches if we were to pray faithfully for our pastors.
Pastors are human—they face the same challenges that their people do, with some additional ones! They grow tired in ministry, are tempted to sin, and may find it difficult to balance their many roles and responsibilities. They need the encouragement and support of those they lead. Prayer for your pastor is crucial to the spiritual health of your pastor, his/her family, and your church. God will reward your efforts to cover her/him in prayer.
If you want to encourage your spiritual leaders (and their spouse!) let them know you are praying for them. Ask them periodically for any specific prayer requests and assure them you will pray accordingly.
Here are two examples to get you started:
Lord Jesus, may everyone in our church grow to become more faithful caretakers of your many, many gifts:
• Help us care for the financial needs of our pastor(s) as we would care for our own.
• Guide all our spiritual leaders as they make decisions about their personal finances.
• Make me a cheerful and generous giver who gladly supports the ministry in my congregation.
Lord Jesus, our pastor(s) serve you and us each time we gather to worship. Thank you for their commitment and devotion to you and to us. Just as they are faithful in their work, make them faithful to rest:
• Convince them that they need time off to recharge their batteries and to enjoy your gifts of relationships, recreation, and relaxation.
•Work in the heart of each member a sensitivity to this need and a respect for our pastor(s)’ time off.
• Draw our leaders to yourself in your Word for their own comfort,strengthening, and enlightenment. May they find peace in your promise of eternal life in Jesus our Lord