4 Scriptures to Pray for Your Pastor All Year Round
It’s been said that if anyone could project the gospel by mere personal force, by brain power, by culture, by personal grace, by God’s apostolic commission, or by God’s extraordinary call, that man was Paul. But what we find in the one who wrote almost a third of the New Testament is a far cry from any shred of self-effort in gospel ministry. Instead, we find the apostle asking, coveting, and pleading in an impassioned way for the help of all God’s saints.
A Continued Conviction
At the end of Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, we find this powerful admonition:
“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, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2-4 ESV, emphasis added).
This concluding section of Paul’s letter specifically requests opportunities to clearly declare Christ’s word. This request, however, was not for Paul’s next Sunday’s sermon, but to have a lifestyle of gospel proclamation. Yet we can also see that right in line with a Christian’s call to continue growing in a life of prayer is a continued conviction to keep praying for pastors and spiritual leaders.
Right in line with a Christian’s call to continue growing in a life of prayer is a continued conviction to keep praying for pastors and spiritual leaders.
More Prayers from Prison
At the end of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, he gives one of the Bible’s clearest and most vivid teachings of the spiritual battle that’s waging all around us. Just after explaining how all believers can be strengthened and victorious by suiting up in the full armor of God, Paul explains the role of prayer and makes an urgent plea for the prayers of the people on his behalf. Read these powerful words with fresh eyes: “…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20 ESV, emphasis added).
Look at the expansive language Paul uses for prayer — praying at “all times in the Spirit…with all perseverance…for all the saints…and also for me.” And what is Paul’s prayer request? That he be delivered from prison to live a safe and comfortable life? No! His prayer is for boldness to proclaim the gospel. If there was one person in the early church who lacked boldness, it certainly wasn’t Paul. Yet boldness is Paul’s request. May this be our request for our pastors, for perhaps never before do we need bold gospel voices to speak light into a dark world.
An Agonizing Appeal
Prayer isn’t always easy — in fact, it’s often really hard. It’s a call to truly engage in the battle. Listen to this passionate plea from Paul:
“I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints” (Romans 15:30-31 ESV, emphasis added).
This appeal from Paul was literally that Roman Christians would agonize with him in prayer. And for what? Deliverance from the unbelievers. Why? So that his service would be acceptable. There is a direct correlation between the prayers of Paul — and of the people on his behalf — and the effectiveness of his service. It’s not that the pastor doesn’t pray and the people do. A prayerless leader is his or her own greatest obstacle. Yet the prayerlessness of people can greatly hinder God’s work in and through the pastor or leader. Saints, it’s time to strive together with our pastors in prayer so that their service is as effective as possible for Christ’s kingdom.
A prayerless leader is his or her own greatest obstacle. Yet the prayerlessness of people can greatly hinder God’s work in and through the pastor or leader.
A Pastor’s Help Supply Chain
In a season of desperate need and suffering, Paul urges the necessity of God’s people to be praying for God’s appointed leaders when he writes the following:
“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV, emphasis added).
Why does Paul exclaim, “You also MUST help us by prayer”? So that many would give thanks because of the blessing granted through the prayers of many. Here, one of those blessings is comfort in suffering. God has hardwired into His church a supply chain of prayerful help for His undershepherds, and it’s you and me.
While there are numerous other examples of Paul requesting prayer that can serve to fuel our pastoral intercession, I am convinced that Paul’s consistent and passionate plea for the prayers of God’s people was an expression of his humility. One commentator summarized Paul’s ministry in this way: “Called, commissioned, chief of the apostles as he was, all his equipment was imperfect and ineffective without the prayers of his people.” I believe that this is the way God set it up. Just as our prayers to God are an expression of our dependence upon Him, our asking for prayer is an expression of our interdependence upon the Body of Christ.
Just as our prayers to God are an expression of our dependence upon Him, our asking for prayer is an expression of our interdependence upon the Body of Christ.
(To download a helpful resource to equip you to pray year round for your pastors, click HERE.)
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