I started this series on 20 Ways to Pray by focusing on those that are closest to us: husbands and children. Now, I want to turn to an often-unsung hero: our pastors. Praying for your pastor is one of the best things you can do for your him and your church. He is the leader that the Lord has put into that ministry and it is his vision that determines the direction and reach of the ministry.
Praying for your pastor also helps you. It is a great place to start with praying for those outside of your own family circle or close friends. This prayer practice will stretch you and grow your praying muscles.
Besides praying for your pastor, the list below can be adapted to praying for other leaders in the church (paid or unpaid), leaders of ministries that are not churches but rather serve the church in other ways, and missionaries. I do intend to include in this series a 20 Ways prayer list for missionaries. But for now, start here.
How to use the prayer list
Now, how do I use this list? I pray for my church and leadership once a week, on Saturdays – I figure the day before worship services is a day that might be one of stress, so I selected Saturday. There is no right day. Then I pray over five items in the list each week, covering the entire list in one month. An alternative method would be to pray one point per day. The important thing is to be consistent in praying and to expand beyond ‘bless our pastor.’
I chose the one-day-a-week model because that works best for me. I have days dedicated to missionaries and non-church ministries, lost friends and family members, saved friends, special requests, the country and government leaders, including the military (special to my heart as the daughter and a wife of two men who served), and as already stated, the church and leadership. I reserve Sunday for a day of worship. If this plan works to stretch your prayer muscles, go for it. It has done that for me. Now, on to the list:
Praying for Your Pastor
- Pray for spiritual protection. Church leaders are in the forefront of the battle against darkness. Therefore, they need protection from the darts and arrows of the enemy. Psalm 91:9-10
- Pray for a strong marriage. A strong marriage is essential for a pastor to be focused on the work of the church. His wife needs to be a strong supporter in his ministry and a prayer warrior for him. Ephesian 5:23-33
- Pray for his children. If the enemy cannot get a foothold in a servant’s marriage, he will often go after the children. The children of ministry workers are already under a microscope, so every little fault may seem magnified. Pray that his children will be a blessing and a joy, know Christ personally as Savior, and not fall away from the Truth. 1 Timothy 3:4-5
- Pray for his vision for ministry. A ministry needs a strong leader with a vision for where the Lord wants that ministry or church to go, what He wants is to do, and how He wants it to look. A pastor must be connected to the Spirit to discern the direction the Lord is taking the church. Proverbs 29:18
- Pray he will be free from the sins of greed and covetousness. Wanting more for the church is not necessarily a sin. However, wanting a bigger church, higher attendance, or a larger paycheck could be a symptom of coveting a ministry that God has not given him. He must always remember that a bigger church is only important if lives are changed for Jesus’ glory and honor. Exodus 20:17; Psalm 119:36
- Pray for fruit that remains. This may seem contradictory to the previous point, but it isn’t. Instead of focusing on numbers, a passion for fruit that remains focuses on people. Pray that your pastor will have that passion for people. John 15:1-5, 16
- Pray for his prayer life. A ministry will only rise as high as the prayer life of its leaders. Pray that God will give him a special sensitivity to and power in prayer. Colossians 1:9-11
- Pray for his spiritual growth. It is easy to think that anyone who has been to Bible college, seminary, or is ordained doesn’t need to grow anymore. That is an appealing trap, but a trap nonetheless. Everyone who is a believer needs to be constantly growing in their faith through personal time in the Word, prayer time, fasting, retreats, and other spiritual disciplines. 2 Timothy 2:15
- Pray for a strong character: courage, purity, faithfulness, and love for others are just a few of the character traits all believers, but especially pastors, should exhibit. 2 Timothy 2:24-26
- Pray for a circle of support. Pray that he will be surrounded by those older and wiser in the ministry who can be a sounding board, provide a wealth of experience, and cover him with prayer. Every leader should have a circle of believers who consistently support, encourage, and pray for him. Acts 15:2-6; 1 Peter 5:1-5
- Pray for opportunities to share the gospel message, and the wisdom and grace to share it in the right manner. Being in fulltime ministry often provides a ready opening to share the faith with others, including complete strangers. An innocent question such as “What do you do?” can be the opening to a gospel conversation. Pray he’ll have many opportunities, recognize them when they come, and seize them for God’s glory. While you’re at it, pray the same for yourself! 2 Timothy 4:5
- Pray for his physical health. Pastors can easily get run down by the demands of ministry, so pray for him to be sustained through whatever the Lord brings to him. Pray also for his voice, as a weak voice is a particular problem for preachers. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
- Pray for unity among the church leadership, whether paid or unpaid. Division can start anywhere, and has torn multitudes of churches apart. Unity among the leadership can help prevent the spread of dissatisfaction that leads to division. 1 Corinthians 1:10
- Pray for friendship. A pastor can often feel lonely in the ministry, even surrounded by many people. Pray God will provide him with true and faithful companions. Proverbs 27:17
- Pray for unity across denominational lines in the community as a witness for Christ. This does not mean your pastor should be watering down the message of the Gospel for the sake of unity. But in communities of almost any size, often more than one Gospel-focused church exists. Unity among those leaders is important. Philippians 1:8
- Pray for unity across racial and ethnic lines. Perhaps even more important in our culture is unity not only across denominational lines, unity across racial and ethnic lines is sorely needed in our culture. Pray that your pastor will be sensitive to this issue and look for ways to build an inclusive church. Galatians 3:28
- Pray for sensitivity to the plight of the poor around the world. This sensitivity should be readily seen through his preaching and the ministries your church supports. God is clear in His Word that the poor are to be the recipients of the love of God extended through the church. James 2:1-17
- Pray for wisdom in determining what ministries, local and global, the church will support. This support could be financial, visiting and participating in special projects, or some other means. Whatever it is, a healthy church should be supporting ministries and missionaries outside their own congregation. Romans 15:25-27
- Pray for the financial needs of the ministry to which he is called. Too many pastors must use precious time and energy working ‘secular’ jobs, ‘encouraging’ believers to give as the Lord directs, or trying to determine where to cut corners because funds are not coming in. Pray that your pastor will not have this burden on top of his other responsibilities, but that the church will be full of ‘cheerful givers.’ 2 Corinthians 9:7
- Pray for a spirit of worship. Pastors need time and space to recharge their spiritual batteries, and Sunday is usually not the time or place. Pray that he will have a protected space every week to worship the Lord and be rejuvenated in his walk with Christ. Philippians 3:3
I hope this series of 20 Ways to Pray is blessing you and your prayer life. If so, I’d love to hear from you, and encourage you to share these prayer lists with other. If there is a special topic you’d like to see covered, let me know. I plan to include lists on praying for missionaries, adult children, your church, and your wife (just to be fair to the guys who might read!). I am actively seeking the Lord’s direction for what other topics to include.