Dear church members. Pray for your pastors. Not a cursory prayer like, “God bless Bro. Joe today,” or “God be with my pastor.” Your pastor needs diligent and intentional prayer support. Ministry is hard work. Ministry to a church that is in need of revitalization is even harder work. Pray for your pastors.
I recently had a conversation with a dear friend who is a member of a church that is in desperate need of revitalization. Truthfully, if this church does not experience a turnaround very soon, it is going to die. They have called a pastor who is trained in revitalization, but things have not yet turned around. My friend was discouraged. He asked me what he should do. My response was simple. Pray for your pastor. Here are six prayer requests that every pastor needs.
Wisdom – During a particularly difficult season of ministry for me, I had a friend in the church ask how he could pray for me. I asked him to pray that I would have wisdom. Solomon had the right idea when he asked God for “an understanding mind…, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). Every pastor needs clarity. This is especially true for the pastor who is leading revitalization. There is so much to be done. Clarity comes from wisdom so pray for your pastor to have wisdom.
Protection – Whenever a church starts down the road toward revitalization, that church is entering a spiritual warfare zone. The enemy will do everything he can to keep the church where it is. An ineffective and dying church is no threat to him. And since the pastor is the spiritual leader of the church, he is often the one the enemy attacks. There are times when the enemy uses church members to do his dirty work. I have known of several pastors in revitalization situations whose lives have been threatened by church members who did not want to give up control. Pray for your pastor’s physical and spiritual protection.
Compassionate Boldness – Leadership requires boldness. Revitalization leadership requires extra boldness. There are hard decisions to be made. That’s why you are praying for wisdom. There is opposition to overcome. That’s why you are praying for protection. Pray that your pastor will be bold. Sometimes, in our boldness we pastors may lose our compassion for those we are trying to lead. I think about Moses leading Israel toward the land of God’s promise. How many times did his frustration turn to anger? In those moments God would remind him to love the people. Pray for your pastor to have compassionate boldness.
Strength – There have been seasons in my ministry where I have experienced exhaustion. Physically. Spiritually. Emotionally. Tired. Twenty years ago the church I was serving was devastated by a flood. The first floor of the church building had to be gutted and rebuilt. Church members lost their homes. There was so much work to be done! In the weeks following the flood, I conducted six funerals including two in one day. I was exhausted. Moses had Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands when he grew tired in the midst of battle. I can guarantee you that your pastor needs the same. Be his Aaron and Hur. Pray for his strength.
Relationships – Pastors are surrounded by people. By definition pastoral ministry involves people. Yet, many pastors are quite lonely. They have many acquaintances but few friends. Pray that your pastor will have some genuine friendships. Pray for your pastor to have healthy relationships in his family. Pray for your pastor to develop a relationship with a mentor who can help to shepherd him as he shepherds the church. And pray that your pastor will develop healthy relationships with church members.
Whatever He Needs – There are times when your pastor may have a very specific need. After all, he is a person just like you and faces everything every other person faces. Try this. Once a week send your pastor a text and ask, “How can I pray for you today?” You may be surprised at his response.
What would you add to this list? Let me hear from you. Pastors, if you would like for me to pray for you, send me an email with your prayer request. It would be my privilege.