Why Your Pastor Needs Prayer
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brother…. 1 Timothy 5:1
“Pastors need prayer, too,” contended Will Bruce in an article by the same title. The following is what he wrote, which I consider so important that, with his permission, I’ll share it with you.
“We expect our pastors to take prayer interest in our problems and needs. Rightly so…. But who prays for his needs? He is human too and he needs our prayer…. A delegation of American pastors asked Charles Spurgeon the secret for his success. In response, Spurgeon led them to the lower level of his meeting house and quietly opened the door. The visitors saw over 400 people praying for God’s blessing and power to rest upon their pastor, who would stand in the pulpit to preach the Word of God that night. ‘There, gentlemen, is the secret for my success.’
“No matter how well you pay your pastor, praise him or work for him, it is only through earnest, strategic prayer that you can ever really empower him to be an effective minister in the hands of Almighty God. Every pastor needs prayer for his personal needs, for spiritual wisdom and power, for his family and for his ministry to the congregation.
“Since we live in this carnal world with all its open and hidden pressures, pray that the pastor will keep his eyes on the Lord and serve with singleness of heart and will not become conceited over success or depressed by failure. Pray that he will remember that Christians `march to a different drummer’…that our value system is different from the world.
“A pastor and his family live a kind of `fish‑bowl’ lifestyle. Therefore, God’s people need to pray–that husband and wife will be devoted to one another and will be deeply related to each other; that he maintain a scriptural family, seeking God’s wisdom for the discipline of his children. Pray also for balance in time and attention given to his wife and children as he strives to provide good spiritual leadership for them.
“The pastor and his family face daily temptations, times of stress, peer pressures and satanic attacks, since they are special targets of the enemy. On the other hand, pray that the church leaders will recognize the personal spiritual, physical, material and social needs of the pastor and his family so that they may not need to become overly preoccupied with the affairs of this life.
“Pastors are subject to the three‑fold satanic temptation of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, just as everyone else is. Pray that the pastor will continually realize that victory comes only through Christ… that he will be prepared in the use of spiritual weapons and use them in dealing with satanic opposition, oppression and possession.
“Pray that he will develop a circle of church leaders to whom he is accountable and that he will cultivate the friendship of at least one godly man (in or out of his congregation) to whom he will be especially open and spiritually accountable in all areas of his life and ministry…that he will be keenly aware of the effects of his actions on the testimony of our Lord, on the church at large, and on his own church leaders and members, as well as on his family and himself and above all his accountability to God.”
And there you have it. Pastors are human, and the best of men are but men at their best. If, however, we took to heart what Will Bruce has written, how different might be the men and women in Christian leadership as well as those who sit under their ministry. Twice the prayer and half the criticism can make a big difference. The reality is that pastors are human, just like we are. And, they need our prayers, not our criticism.
Resource reading: 1 Timothy 3:1-7