As we move into 2021, may I suggest we churchgoers spend more time in prayer for our pastors? Could we commit to a few minutes a week specifically praying for these servant leaders? Frankly, I have never seen a season where pastors have withstood attacks at the level they did in the previous year. Perhaps one of our first lines of ministry should be praying for our pastors.
While I could provide a lengthy prayer guide, let’s begin with these seven prayers. I really believe we could see our churches renewed if we fervently prayed for the renewal and protection of our pastors.
Protection in spiritual warfare. This prayer covers most of the other prayers, but I think we should be specific here. The enemy seeks to destroy the witness of churches by attacking pastors. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Their families. Families of pastors are under attack every single day. Pray for their spouses. Pray for their children. Many pastors have left vocational ministry because their families have been attacked relentlessly.
Protection from critics and naysayers. One church member told me she is not that critical of her pastor. She mentioned that she has a few “constructive” comments about three or four times a year. I reminded her she was one of 300 members in the church. If she was representative of the other members, the pastor would be subject to about 1,000 criticisms in a year.
Preaching ministry. Pray for pastors in the preparation of their sermons. Pray for them as they preach. Consider asking two or three members to pray in another room in the church while they preach.
Rest for pastors. Pastors would be fine if they were omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. But we often forget that every time we have an expectation of a pastor, that single expectation is multiplied many times throughout the week by other members with other expectations.
Leadership clarity. Among the items on the lengthy list of expectations of pastors is the expectation to be a leader of the church. That means pastors need clarity from God on where and how to lead the church. That means we must pray for God to give them that clarity.
Encouragement. I have conversed with more than one church member who sees his or her role to be keeping pastors humble with barbs and criticisms. On the other hand, I am immensely grateful for those church members who seek to be encouragers to pastors. May their tribe increase.
As with many of us, 2020 was a difficult year for many pastors. Let us take the turning of a calendar year to be reminded of one act we can do to make our church and the world a better place.
Would you join me in praying for our pastors?
This article was originally published at churchanswers.com on January 4. Thom S. Rainer served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.