Your pastor, like mine, requires your prayers on a regular basis. He’s probably a godly man whose faithfulness and integrity serves as a model for everyone in the congregation, making it seem as if he’s a spiritual giant with no personal problems or needs. His willingness and availability to minister to each person in the church lend credence to the idea that he exists solely for our benefit. Thus, we often fail to understand that he has just as many physical and spiritual needs as we have.
This week, I plan to offer a few ideas on how we can pray for our pastors. By no means will I touch on every area in which these men need prayer support; I regret my own shortcomings in praying for the two men who shepherd the church I attend. Rather, I hope my posts will spark ideas, leading you to develop your own ways of praying for your pastor.
For me, the most difficult area of praying for my pastors has been the area of their struggles with temptation. Of course I understood that they’re only human. Just like every Christian, these two men battle daily with their old natures (see Romans 7:15-25). In that respect, I had no problem asking the Lord to strengthen them against temptation.
But I found myself trying to guess what specific temptations they probably experience on an ongoing basis. I convinced myself that I only wanted to pray as accurately as possible.
As time went on, my prayers took my imagination to places it definitely didn’t belong, dishonoring my pastors as well as dishonoring God. I occasionally felt convicted, but always rationalized that I wasn’t 100% sure they struggled with those specific temptations — I just wanted to cover the most likely bases.
Do not follow this example.
1 Peter 4:15 implores us not to suffer as murderers, thieves or meddlers. Speculating on your pastor’s temptations may not constitute outward meddling, but you’re still concerning yourself with matters that, if you’ll excuse my bluntness, are none of your business. The truth is that we need only know that our pastors (like us) deal with temptation. We have no reason to know the specific details.
Absolutely, pray regularly that your pastor can stand against whatever temptations assault him! He definitely needs your prayers as he seeks to live in obedience to Christ. But leave the nature of his temptations between him and God.