praying for your pastor

I am in my seventeenth year of vocational ministry and I’ll admit the depth of my prayer times have come in seasons.  It seems the more time I spend driving, the deeper my prayer times go.

For most of the past two decades, I have known that, regardless of my role, the church I serve expects me to pray for them.  In my quiet time.  In my office.  While I’m running.  While I’m driving.  While I’m sitting in the steam room.  Actually, I think the average church member expects their pastor to think and pray about the congregation in every facet of life.  It is a good, but unhealthy, expectation.  Your pastor should pray for you consistently.  Your pastor should also turn his brain off and be present with God for himself.  Your pastor also should be present with his family; not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

If you think you deserve the number one spot on your pastor’s relationship list, you need to re-think that.  I’m sure he would love to spend time with you, but please don’t be offended if doesn’t.  Rather than lobbying for time with your pastor, you should consider thinking about how and when you pray for your pastor.  I think it is fair to have a mutual expectation that we pray for one another.

Here are a few ways you can pray for your pastor today.

  1. Pray that his relationship with God will hold the number one spot on his task list.  This flows in seasons for many pastors, especially ones who cave into the pressures of a congregation.  Your pastor loves God, but often is running on empty because he leaves his personal time with God “until later”.  When later never comes, he uses his sermon preparations for his personal time and cheats everyone in the process.
  2. Pray that his family will hold the number two spot on his task list.  I think every person knows a pastor’s kid who feels unloved and uncared for.  Several years ago, one of our children asked why I spent more time with other families than my own family.  I vowed that would never happen again.  To this day, I have been successful in making that ministry shift; however, there are many pastors have a demand placed on them that is unlike any job in the world.  Due to a lack of confidence in their own leadership skills, they give in to the demands placed on them and, again, cheats everybody in the process.
  3. Pray that his message preparation will hold the number three spot on his task list.  Pray that God will bless this preparation time, that Scripture will be speak for itself, and that God will illuminate his preparation time for the edification of the congregation.  In the world of smartphones and podcasts, I know I am not the best preacher my congregation will listen in any given week.  It’s okay!  I am part of a congregations spiritual growth.  God is the orchestrator of spiritual growth.  Filling the rows on Sunday morning is what pays the bills of a church.  Bad preaching does not fill rows!  Bad preaching comes when message preparation keeps getting pushed aside.
  4. Pray that your pastor experiences friendship.  Many pastors are lonely because of the demands congregations place on them.  Pastors need friends outside of his congregation.  Your pastor needs to freedom to engage in networking opportunities that will produce friendships.

Do you pray for your pastor?  I’d love to hear how your pray for him.  Would you add to the list and help others pray for their pastor(s) better?