Monday, April 30, 2012

Praying for your pastor and his family: Part 1


Did you know that one of the best things you can do for your pastor and his family is to pray for them?  I know that may sound obvious, but our actions will reveal how much importance we really place on this vital matter.  Do we set aside a specific time on a regular basis to pray for our pastor's family?  Do we even realize the necessity?

I know I  can attest, as a pastor's wife, how encouraging it is to receive a note from someone who is genuinely letting me know they are praying for us (not just glibly writing it to look spiritual). 

You may be thinking, well. . . this applies to everyone.  Don't we all need prayers brought before the throne on our behalf?  YES - absolutely!  But let me take some time to plead my case for how your pastor's family especially needs your prayers and then give some suggestions for doing it.


Let's take a look at Hebrews 13:7.

Remember your leaders, 
those who spoke to you the word of God.  
Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

First, we need to consider the incredible responsibility on your pastor's shoulders.  They preach the Word to us week after week, and they need to demonstrate a Christian walk worth emulating.  Whew!

Then look further down the chapter in Hebrews 13.  Verse 17 states:

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, 
as those who will have to give an account.  
Let them do this with joy and not with groaning for that would be of no advantage to you.

Your pastor (AKA Shepherd) is responsible for the souls of the "sheep" in the flock (or congregation) God has given Him.  He will give an account!  Trust me, your pastor never forgets that fact.  He never leaves that burden of responsibility at the office - nor does he take a vacation from it. 

There is also another side to this that often forgotten. 
He is helping bear the burdens of many in the flock who are hurting, anxious, and weary.  Typically, you may have no idea of all the private burdens within the congregation at any given point.  That's OK, you don't need to know - but you can pray that God would strengthen the pastor's family as they minister to these more private needs.  Your prayers may be answered in ways only heaven may reveal.

Second, we need to pray for our pastor and his family because as one so aptly put it - "Pastors and their families walk around with targets on their backs."  Satan would love nothing more than to see a pastor fall or a pastor's family make a disgrace of the ministry.  I think we can all list off plenty of examples of this happening. Do you remember the armor of God passage in Ephesians?  Check out verses 11-13 in chapter 6.

Put on the whole armor of God, 
that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, 
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, 
that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

This is a spiritual warfare we are involved in and we need to be equipped daily with the right weapons. You and those in the ministry cannot just decide to put it in "spiritual cruise control" today.

Whether it is because of the high expectations placed on the family in ministry or the weariness that comes from being engaged in emotionally taxing spiritual warfare day after day, most will admit being a pastor's family can definitely have its pros and cons.  Pray that your pastor will lead his family through these challenges.

These have just been a couple reasons that pastors and their families specifically need your prayers.    I hope that this has been an encouragement to you.  If you have read this and thought - my prayer life in general is not what it should be.  Don't be discouraged (that is right where Satan would like you to be).  Pray and ask for God's forgiveness and you can start working on that prayer life today.  Start small and work from there.

Next time I will give some practical suggestions on how to pray for your pastor and his family.



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