The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Pastor
This month is Pastor Appreciation month, in which we are urged to write notes and give other tokens of our appreciation in order to encourage our pastors. In a book I read last week, the author told of a church where the pastor came out wearing a bull’s-eye target on his chest. The prayer leader of the church then spoke of how our pastors are targets of the enemy, and they NEED our prayers to support them in their lives and ministry.
The threats against our pastors are broad. The enemy knows if he can bring down a spiritual leader, he can effectively derail many more people than if the average church attender is targeted, so he comes at our pastors, elders, and lay-leaders from many fronts. Leaders need our coverage in order to endure, and we are all called to pray spiritual coverage over them.
Since we have a large staff, sometimes it is best to focus our prayer to be the most effective. We may consider which pastors and leaders have the most impact on our lives. Of course our senior pastor and senior elder are essential to the ministry, and would do the most damage if they were to fall, thus are probably the most threatened, so special prayer should be given for them.
Beyond that, we should ask the Lord to reveal who else we should focus on in prayer. Are our children or grandchildren in the children’s ministry or youth group? How would they be affected if their leaders fell or operate wounded? Perhaps we should focus there. Do we serve in a particular ministry, such as Worship Ministry or small groups? Which leaders does the Lord bring to mind for which to pray?
Once we’ve identified who the Lord would have us guard in prayer, we must then learn how to best cover them. Scripture, particularly Paul’s prayers and requests, is a good place to start, but so are books and lists which talk about “watchmen praying,” or praying for pastors and leaders. For our purposes, here is a brief list to get us started:
• Pray for their ministry to honor the Lord and be faithful to Him—that they will be God-pleasers and not men-pleasers (even if that means they don’t always please us)— that they’d be obedient and yielded to Him in every way.
• Pray their needs will be provided for, that they will not be in want.
• Pray they will be guarded from temptation, and not compromise in any way.
• Ask the Lord to guard them, and their families from spiritual attack. The enemy will often go after them through their families.
• Pray that they will not be attacked by men through criticism or smears. Pray that people will be circumspect in their words about leadership knowing that the Lord will not count guiltless those who “touch His anointed.” Pray that they will feel encouraged, not defeated by the words of those they serve.
• That said, may they invite and maintain trusted people in their lives whose God-given role is to hold them accountable, and who will lovingly confront them if they err.
• Pray they will not weary themselves by laboring in their own strength, but fully depend upon and be empowered by the Lord. In that vein, pray for them to get true rest—spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally.
• Pray for fruit in their ministry. This doesn’t just mean souls saved, but the fruit of the Spirit which comes from abiding in Christ.
• Pray they will walk humbly with the Lord, especially when their ministry is blessed.
• Ask the Lord to guard their physical health, and that they will act wisely—not neglecting their health as they pursue ministry.
This list could go on and on. We need to let the Lord lead, and look for other scriptures, books, and lists to help us. Here are a few more resources:
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries