Every Friday I’ll be reposting a blog post I wrote for Standing Stone Ministry on 52 Ways to Care for Your Pastor. We first compiled a list of ideas submitted by several people. Then, I was tasked with creating an entertaining post for each idea. Some I love, some are a bit hokey, but that may just be my opinion. In any event, I hope you’ll enjoy these posts and put some into action. We really need to do a better job of caring for our ministry leaders: Lead pastor, executive pastor, music pastor, youth pastor, children’s pastor, and the list goes on. And, let’s not forget the wives. Behind every great ministry leader is an excellent supportive wife! I think that being the wife of a pastor is a harder job at times. Expressing our love and appreciation to these men and women that serve us in our churches goes a long way toward keeping them in ministry and not burning out. Burnout is a huge factor in the reason why men and women leave ministry positions. We can do something to change that!
Week 1: Pray
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:15-17
Can you imagine how the church at Ephesus felt when reading the above words? Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, was praying for them. Not only was he praying, but he was specifically praying for wisdom and revelation so that the church would know Him better. Who wouldn’t be encouraged by that?!?!?
Can you imagine how your pastor will feel when you tell him* that you are diligently praying for him?
Can you imagine how he would feel if several people told him the same thing? In the same week? Through spoken words, emails, and cards?
One way, and in my opinion, the most important way to care for your pastor is to pray. That’s why we are starting this series with prayer. Pray for your pastor. Pray that God would fill your pastor with wisdom and revelation. Pray that your pastor would hear the voice of God clearly. Pray that your pastor would get to know Christ even better.
However, by telling your pastor that you are praying for him you are going one step further; you are making a commitment. You are committing yourself to doing the actual work of prayer intercession and spiritual warfare. Because, the truth is, we are in a war.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Your pastor is on the front lines of this war. He is probably battle weary and battle scarred. He could use the encouragement of knowing that he is not fighting alone. Think of Aaron and Joshua holding up Moses’ arms.
Once you tell your pastor you are praying for him, you have to actually pray! How do you do that on a consistent basis? Glad you asked; I have some suggestions for you.
*Set a timer on your smart phone. We do it all the time to remind us of important appointments. What is more important than an appointment with God to talk to him about your pastor(s)?
*Write his name on a sticky note and place it on the steering wheel of your car. When you are on your morning commute you can turn off the radio for five minutes and pray.
*Write his name on a piece of paper and place it in a spot that you frequent often; the coffee maker, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, TV remote control. You get it. The point is to be creative and come up with a way to consistently and regularly pray for your pastor(s).
Satan doesn’t want us to pray for our pastors, or anyone else for that matter, so expect some resistance. Expect to fall asleep quickly if you intend to pray the last thing at night before sleep. Expect the phone to ring the second you sit down to lift up your pastor in prayer. Be prepared to push through the distractions and then………simply pray!
Pray for wisdom.
Pray for God’s peace on him and his family.
Pray for strength.
Pray for encouragement.
Pray for health.
Pray for inspiration.
Pray for a closer walk and for time to spend on his own in prayer and the word. You’d be surprised at how many pastors struggle with their own personal devotions!
Pray. Daily. Diligently. Thoughtfully.
And every now and then drop your pastor a note reminding him that he is loved and that you continue to pray for him.
Every now and then shake his hand on the way out of church and tell him that you pray for him every morning at 7 am (or whenever).
Every now and then shoot off an email with an encouraging scripture with the reminder that you are holding up his arms in prayer.
To reiterate; the #1 way to care for your pastor(s) is to pray.
*Please assume that the use of him is actually him/her. I don’t know about you, but I find it distracting and bothersome to always read him/her or he/she. I also find it bothersome to remember to type it that way as well!