Monday, July 1, 2013

Praying for your Pastor

Confession:  I never prayed faithfully for my Pastor . . . until I was married to him. :)

{This is the spot where my Pastor proposed 10 years ago!}

I wasn't that I didn't appreciate my former pastors or realize to some extent that the ministry is intense.  I just didn't think about it.

But now I live with it.  And let me tell you . . . until you do, you can't fully appreciate just how intense it is and just how much intercession matters.  

So I'm just gonna throw it out there . . . an encouragement and challenge to be on your knees {faithfully and frequently} for your Pastor.

The life of a Pastor is a constant battle ground.  His heart, his mind, his faith, his marriage, his relationship with his kids, his time engaging with his flock, his time in the Word and prayer,  his time in sermon prep {especially Saturday nights and Sunday mornings} . . . a war rages all week.

Why?  Because the faithful and bold proclamation of the Word of God has the power to transform lives.  People are born again as the Gospel is preached.  Followers of Christ are continually transformed as they grow in intimacy with Jesus.  Sin is revealed as we hold our lives up to the Word.  Grace is overwhelming as we hear of what Jesus has done on our behalf.  Lives are radically changed as we are yielded to God's purpose for His people . . . to glorify Him by making disciples of all nations.

There is great potential for transformation through the Spirit when the local Body gathers together to worship Christ and hear the Word preached.

Understandably, the enemy doesn't like this at all.  If a Pastor is faithfully feeding the sheep, the wolves will come.  I've only been the wife of a pastor for 5 years, but I can tell you that the evil one hasn't eased up on his attacks yet and I don't expect that he will.  The life of a Pastor is a constant battle ground.  If Satan can entangle him in sin and self, he will have with one swoop affected the whole flock. 

Here are just a few of the temptations Pastors can face . . . Every. Single. Week.
    1. exaltation of self
    {This is tough because we literally put Pastors up on a platform, give them a microphone, and put all eyes on them, but don't want them to be exalted instead of Christ.  What a weekly battle they face!  I pray for Chad this quote by Robert Murray McCheyne, "I see a man cannot be a faithful minister, until he preaches Christ for Christ's sake, until he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and seeks only to attract them to Christ."}
      2. the desire to please man instead of God
       {Paul says in 2 Timothy that a time is coming "when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth."  I doubt you want your Pastor to be one of those kind of teachers, but know that there are some who want just that.  A Pastor has to fight to measure success by his faithfulness and obedience to God instead of by how pleased people are with him.}
       3. balancing his time . . . engaging with his people during the week, administrative work, sermon prep, prayer . . . discerning how to best spend each moment is a weekly battle
      4. the weight of standing before the flock {and before God} with a message from God
      {I saw David Platt put on facebook yesterday this quote from John Knox, "I have never once feared the devil, but I tremble every time I enter the pulpit."  Preaching is intense, y'all!}
      5. the temptation to go through the motions without growing in his own personal intimacy with God, without continual transformation, without submitting his own heart to the Word he will preach 
       6. the temptation to isolate
      {We can forget that the Pastor isn't the Head of the Body . . . that is Jesus' role.  The Pastor has a specific role WITHIN the Body.  As part of the Body, he needs the same things that we all do . . . sharpening, encouragement, accountability, friendship.  If people expect their Pastor to somehow not struggle with sin and are shocked when he tries to confess sin and be held accountable, then a Pastor {and his family} can easily be resigned to just walk their faith journey in isolation, which is a dangerous road where sin can end up reigning in their lives.}
      7. insecurity and the fear of man 
      {Chances are a Pastor is not living up to someone's expectations in pretty much every area of his ministry.  If his eyes are focused on this reality, he can be insecure in all aspects of his ministry.} 

      Like I said . . . a war is raging in the life of your Pastor and the enemy is not letting up!  Let's commit to being those who intercede, who take up arms and fight right beside the men who faithfully proclaim Christ each week!

      I've been memorizing Psalm 138 to pray for Grayson, but on Saturday night I felt a strong leading to pray it for Chad as he prepared his heart to preach.  I'm not saying you have to, but if you are looking for something specific to pray for your Pastor, maybe you could start with this!

      I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
      before the gods I sing your praise;
      I bow down toward your holy temple
      and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and faithfulness,
      for you have exalted above all things
      your name and your word.

      Pray that your Pastor will be overwhelmed with God's grace in his own life.  Pray that from his humbled heart, full of gratitude for his salvation, praise will flow and that he will worship in Spirit and in Truth.  Pray that his mind will be focused on the character of God revealed in the Word and in Christ.  Pray that the motive of his heart and the aim of his preaching will be that the name of Christ and the Word of God be exalted.

      I'll just say one more thing from personal experience . . . if when you do pray for your Pastor, tell him!  It is so encouraging for him {and his family} to be reminded that he is not alone in this battle.  Especially when God gives you something specific to pray on his behalf, let him know how you are interceding . . . it is probably an answer to prayer or exactly the temptation he is facing.  Hearing from you will strengthen his faith in knowing how God sees and provides for him in the battle!

      What do you pray for your Pastor?  How do you remain faithful in interceding for him?  Pastors and Pastor's wives . . . what are other areas of the battle that can be lifted up?


      1. Thank you so much for posting this, Cole! I will definitely be sharing it, but it's also such an awesome reminder to me that I need to be praying MORE for my pastor/husband. Thank you for boldly speaking up on our pastors' behalf. Love you, sweet friend!

      2. I'm right there with you Laura! I wrote this because God reminded me of the importance of praying faithfully and intentionally for Chad!

      3. EXCELLENT article, Cole! This was such a timely reminder to me to intercede for my pastor (who happens to be my husband as well!) As Laura said, thanks for speaking boldly on our pastors' behalf!