Pray Also for Us
Even someone as spiritually mature as the apostle Paul seemed to realize the importance of such prayer. (6 min. read)
Whether the ANiC church where you belong has 35 attendees on a Sunday morning and you meet in rented facilities, or you have your own building and Sunday attendance averages over 200, you have a pastoral staff that deeply needs your prayers.
There may simply be one deacon or a priest-in-charge upon whom rests the entire pastoral responsibility for the people. Or perhaps, there is a team of clergy and laity that share the varied ministries that a larger parish requires.
Whatever the case may be in your situation, these servants of the Lord desperately need the coverage of prayer.
Do They Need My Prayers?
Now perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, they’ve been a Christian far longer than I have, and are far more spiritually mature than I am. I need their prayers, but I can’t see their need of my puny prayer efforts!” In all my years of ministry, I have never known a person in ministry who was not profoundly grateful for the prayers of the people.
Even someone as spiritually mature as the apostle Paul seemed to realize the importance of such prayer. Here is what he wrote to several churches that he had founded:
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Colossians 4:2–4 ESV
Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 CSB
For Clarity and Boldness
I am always amazed at the prayers recorded in Scripture, especially in Acts and the Epistles, that never have personal comfort or convenience been at the heart of the prayers. Paul is not asking that he would never be shipwrecked again, or for no repeated floggings or stonings.
No, where Paul wants prayer from the saints in Ephesus and Colossae is for great clarity and boldness in sharing the Gospel, whatever the cost. I believe that your clergy have similar priorities.
What to Pray
Having Googled “praying for your pastor”, I found many excellent blog posts on why we should pray for our clergy and suggestions on how to pray for them. I have pulled together from some of those articles the thoughts that I felt might be most relevant to our ANiC clergy and lay leaders.
Let me give you some ways to pray for your rector and pastoral staff.
1) Pray that they will keep their eyes focussed solely on Jesus.
It is so easy to become distracted by the complex circumstances of parish life, the diversity of available ministry programs, or the epidemic busyness of our culture.
Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12: 1-2
2) Pray that they will beware of relying on their own strength.
However personable, eloquent, academically proficient or learned they may be, the source of their strength and competency must be in the Lord.
Such is the confidence we have through Christ before God. It is not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. 2 Cor. 3: 4-5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” John 15:5
3) Pray protection over their marriages and families.
In a sex-obsessed culture, temptations are constantly before our pastoral staff. Pray for moral purity, both in thought and action. Pray for protection for spouses and families, especially teens, so often the targets of demonic harassment.
“. . . so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” 2 Cor. 2:11
4) Pray that they will guard time to regularly spend with the Lord in prayer.
For committed pastors, the demands of ministry can so easily become all consuming. Pray that, like Jesus, they will cherish times with the Father, and withdraw, just delighting in His presence and unburdening their hearts.
But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed. Luke 5:15-16
5) Pray that they will share the Gospel with boldness.
Even within evangelical churches, there is a growing pressure to soften the Gospel message, to make it “more relevant” to our 21stcentury culture, and to rob it of any transformation power. Pray for them, as Paul requested of the Ephesian church, that they would have boldness to testify to the life-changing power of the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, without compromise.
Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19
The Single Most Important Thing
There are many other ways that we can pray for our clergy, and I would encourage you to do a little online research to find others that suit your specific parish circumstance. But, may I conclude by urging you to make a fresh commitment to pray for the leaders in your parish, in our diocese, and in our province.
The stakes are so high, the pressures so great. The single most important thing that we can do for them is to lift them up to the Lord in prayer. Let’s not leave them to stand alone! Pray for them!