Pray for your pastor? Isn’t that something pastors should be doing themselves—that’s kind of their job, right? Isn’t that more for those “praying types” at church? They don’t really need me to pray for them—they are kind of Christian experts and look fine to me.
Well, surprise! We are all called to pray pretty much all the time: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me” (Ephesians 6:18-19a). Note that the Apostle Paul includes himself in this call. Always be praying for everything, including your fellow Christians, and including your pastor.
There are so many passages we could look at to remind us to pray for those who lead us, but for now I want to highlight just two, which will help us find ways to pray for those who lead in the church.
Listen to how Jesus prays for Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Certainly, we can pray like this for all those around us, but in this context Jesus is praying for the leadership of the church. Notice that Jesus reminds Peter that he prays against the work and temptation of Satan in his life, for his personal faith, and for his faithful ministry to the other disciples. As we are invited into these prayers of Jesus, we can join him in praying in a similar way for our pastors. Pray that your pastors are protected from the destructive work of sin, the world, and the devil. Pray that your leaders would know Jesus and grow in an unshakable faith. Pray that your pastors would turn to God more fully and strengthen the church.
I have one more passage to encourage us to pray for our leaders. As the church forms in Crete the Apostle Paul is clear on what church leaders need to look like: “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:9)
In 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, God’s Word insists on the qualifications of good church leadership. As we pray, we can ask God to build our pastors in these key areas. Looking specifically at a passage like Titus 1:6-9, we hear God’s call for church leaders to have a faithful family life, active Christian character, and fruitful proclamation of God’s Word. Pray for these things in the lives of your pastors. Ask what your pastors need, and pray for their family members and for their faith, especially that their kids would come to know Jesus. Pray that your pastors would encounter Jesus so fully that they are able to reflect his holy and loving character. Pray that your pastors would have time in the Word of God and in the power of the Spirit so that they would have fruitful gospel ministry.
If we pray like this, we are participating in the love that God has for our pastors and for his saving plan through his church.
In summary, here are six simple ways to pray for your pastor:
- Pray for protection from the work of Satan, the world, and temptation.
- Pray for increase of faith in Jesus Christ and his gospel.
- Pray for personal repentance and forgiveness to encourage the church.
- Pray for faithful family life.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to build them in Christlike character.
- Pray for effective and fruitful teaching and preaching of God’s Word.