As we close this series on praying for our pastors, let’s talk about his most important ministry (aside from his ministry to his wife and children). In order to do so, we need to turn again to Paul’s words to Timothy:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the 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, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. ~~2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV)
Paul wrote this epistle from prison, acutely aware that he would soon be beheaded for proclaiming the Gospel. Except for personal requests, this passage contains his last instructions to the young pastor. For that reason, he began (in verse 1) by emphasizing the solemnity of his charge. Timothy’s primary duty was to preach the Word.
Our pastors bear this same responsibility. Certainly they have other responsibilities like visiting the sick, counseling congregants and attending elders’ meetings, but all these functions are a distant second to preaching the Word of God.
And preaching it clearly and accurately.
To do such clear, accurate preaching, our pastors must spend hours studying the text. They must understand its immediate context, as well as its historical context. They should also know about the customs involved in the passage at hand. Additionally, they need to examine key Greek and/or Hebrew words. Finally, they must make applications without twisting the text to conform to a certain agenda.
We can pray for our pastors to have God’s grace during the rigors of preparing sermons. Because I know my pastor, on Saturdays I pray that he won’t be up till 3:00 Sunday morning polishing his sermon (ahem).
Our pastors also need prayer as they stand in their pulpits and actually preach. Pray that they can deliver God’s Word clearly. The Holy Spirit will apply His Word to the individual needs of each person hearing the sermon, but that fact doesn’t negate the importance of understandable preaching. Pray for your pastor to speak clearly, both in regard to explaining the text and in regard to enunciating his words.
Just as crucial, pray for him to handle Scripture accurately. Preaching the holy Word of God is a weighty responsibility, and godly pastors must tremble at that weight. They well understand the crucial nature of representing God’s Word well.
Preaching the Word of God requires much from our pastors. Out of love for them, may we faithfully pray for them as they minister to us through Scripture.