I am grateful that one of the small ways that my pride has decreased is in the area of prayer. Namely, the longer I am alive, the longer I am in ministry, the more I am aware of how desperately I need others to pray for me, and am unashamed to ask for it.
So I am asking again.
And for every pastor you know.
Please, would you pray for pastors? Even if they are not your own pastor? One of my great joys is to pray for a list of about ten pastors every Sunday morning, as I imagine them making final preparations for the morning's ministry of Word and Prayer. What a joy to partner with our Father, and with them, in this way.
Nicholas Batzig recently wrote why this is so important:
Just the other day I received a letter in the mail from a medical doctor whom I have never met before. Having told me how he had benefited from some of my sermons and articles, he went on to tell me, “I pray for you. I will be able to do so on a very regular basis now and trust that you will be helped and strengthened in your ministry and family.”
This was an enormous comfort and encouragement to me. Contrary to what some might suppose, ministers of the gospel desperately need the prayers of the saints. One of my seminary professors used to tell the student body, “Pastors have a bull’s eye on their back and footprints up their chest.” This is quite an appropriate description of the hardships that God’s servants are called to endure for the sake of the gospel. The flaming arrows of the evil one are persistently being shot at pastors. In addition, the world is eager to run them over at any opportunity. This is, sadly, also a reality with regard to some in the church.
With so much opposition and difficulty within and without, pastors constantly need the people of God to be praying for them. The shepherd needs the prayers of the sheep as much as they need his prayers.
He also is one of Messiah's sheep, and is susceptible to the same weaknesses.
This is so true, and it is why the pastors I serve with, and the pastors you know, need your prayers. Mr. Batzig goes on to describe five ways you can pray for these men in the crosshairs of the Evil One:
Pray for their spiritual protection from the world, the flesh and the Devil.
Pray for their deliverance from the physical attacks of the world and the Devil.
Pray for doors to be opened to them for the spread of the good news.
Pray that they might have boldness and power to preach the good news.
Pray that they might have a spirit of wisdom and understanding.
If you'd like a short paragraph describing each of these ways you might pray, read the whole article.
I would be grateful if you might commit to pray this way for me, once a week, if I happen to be your pastor. And, if I am not, would you commit to pray this way for your pastor?
I am sure he (and you!) will be glad you did.