By Steven Mock
Does your pastor have the worst job in the world? If you don’t love him by valuing his hard work, authority, and service as well as bragging about him then there is a good chance he thinks he does. But what can you do to be a blessing to your pastor and make his job easier?
My second answer to this important question is to pray for your pastor. Paul asked for prayer at least three times. He obviously valued the corporate ministry of the body of Christ. Even though most of the early believers were not able to travel with Paul on his missionary journeys, they were still able to have a vital ministry with Paul by interceding on his behalf.
Like Paul, I’m sure every pastor would be greatly encouraged if he knew his people were praying for him on a regular basis. But how should you pray for your pastor? Let me suggest some answers from 1 Peter 5:1-4. This passage is written specifically to your pastor telling him how he is to perform his ministry to you. But you can easily turn it into five prayer requests for your pastor.
First, ask the Lord to help your pastor serve Him (and you) willingly this week. 1 Peter 5:2 tells your pastor to serve willingly and not by constraint. If your pastor is like me, it is probably easy for him to get into a rut of “doing pastoral work” and begin going through the motions because that’s what he’s “supposed to do.” We’re tempted to show up to youth group, prayer meetings, Sunday services, and counseling sessions only because they’re on the schedule. But this request asks the Lord to do a work in your pastor’s heart. “Lord, help my pastor to serve you and Your people from his heart today because he wants to, not because he has to.”
Second, ask the Lord to help your pastor serve enthusiastically. The end of verse two tells your pastor to be of a ready mind or, in other words, to serve eagerly. Anyone can tell if someone is enthusiastic about something or not. Just talk to anyone about the latest footy game or popular movie and you can gauge his enthusiasm by how he responds. “Lord, give pastor the enthusiasm he needs today to accomplish your will. Help him to love doing what You’ve called Him to do.”
Third, ask the Lord to help your pastor serve gently. 1 Peter 5:3 tells your pastor not to “lord over God’s heritage.” He deals with all kinds of problems from all kinds of people. Many times people are resistant, apathetic, or even down right hostile to God’s truth. Your pastor needs God’s wisdom to know how he should deal with each situation in a gentle manner. “Father, help my pastor not to lord his authority over your people but to serve them gently today.”
Fourth, ask the Lord to help your pastor be the right example. The last part of verse three tells your pastor to be an example to the flock. Whether you realize it or not, your pastor lives in a fishbowl. People take notice of what kind of car he drives, what clothes he wears, how his children behave (or mis-behave) during the service. People are often too quick to critique his punctuality, his marriage, his countenance. There is probably a lot of pressure your pastor faces every single day that you are not even the slightest bit aware of. Pray for him that he will be the right kind of example. “God, please help pastor not to regret the spotlight You’ve put him in. Give him grace to be faithful under pressure and transparent before our church family.”
Fifth, ask the Lord to help your pastor serve in faith and be encouraged by his reward. 1 Peter 5:4 reminds your pastor that Christ is coming again and there will be a special reward waiting for him. Most people find enough incentive to work overtime when they realize there is extra pay involved. Your pastor probably is no different. He will be strengthened and encouraged when he is reminded of the reward that awaits him. “Father, remind pastor that he is serving You and encourage him with the reward You’ve promised him.”
Paul speaks of a different crown in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20. He speaks of Christians he has served as being his glory, joy, and reward. Would your pastor think of you as his reward or his bane? Do you make it easy for your pastor to serve you willingly, enthusiastically, and gently? Pray for him regularly and I’m confident the Lord will answer your prayers in your pastor’s life and in yours.
Steven Mock is currently pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Cairns, Australia. Steven and his wife, Cristy, moved to Cairns in July 2003. The Mocks have two children and one on the way.