1 Timothy 3:1 says, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.”
This verse calls attention to the importance of the pastoral role in the church. Pastoral work is noble. It is good, holy, and just. It is a hard task that involves shepherding the church into a closer relationship with Christ. The work of a pastor isn’t a means to gain wealth or power, but a call to serve the church, the bride of Christ, through building relationships, making disciples, baptizing, and through the preaching and teaching of God’s word. It’s a difficult task with many responsibilities. James even writes in James 3:1, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” It’s a reminder that teachers and pastors have a deep responsibility; they are entrusted with the word of God, which makes the church vulnerable to error. Pastors will be held accountable and put under His judgment over their words and actions.
In a world that grows more hostile towards the gospel by the minute, the temptation to sugarcoat the gospel also grows. The gospel is extremely offensive because it calls us to repentance.
Pastoral work may be noble but it can be tough and dirty work. It isn’t some 9 to 5 job you clock in and out of. It is a task that involves all of their time. Pastors may have a noble job and are held to a high standard, but at the end of the day they are just as fallen and in need of the same grace that God has given us. I too feel God’s calling to pastoral work and since I’ve graduated from college I’ve had he privilege to work, learn, and grow under our pastors at VGF. I’ve seen first hand how God has transformed and sanctified once sinful rebellious men…Men that He now uses to accomplish much for the kingdom. I’ve seen their struggles in ministry and it has helped me better understand this noble, tough task the Lord has given them. Pastors shepherd us on a regular basis but, how often do we pray for them, how often do we thank them and do something special for them? They need just as much prayer as you and I. 1 Timothy 3:7 says, “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” It’s clear here that the devil has traps set out for our pastors. Because of this it’s important that we as a church pray for our pastors. So here are some ways we can pray for our pastors.
1. Pray they Remain Faithful to the Word:
In a world that grows more hostile towards the gospel by the minute, the temptation to sugarcoat the gospel also grows. The gospel is extremely offensive because it calls us to repentance. The culture prefers a watered down gospel that makes us feel comfortable and God’s word calls us to repent and to grow in Christ. So pray that our pastors remain faithful to the word.
“ For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” – 2 Timothy 4:3
2. Pray for their Marriage and Family:
A pastor’s ministry doesn’t end at the church. Their family is also their ministry. Pastors can be tempted to put so much time and effort into the church that they could end up neglecting their wife and children if they are not careful, which is their first and most important ministry in their life. So let’s pray that our pastors are able to lead and guide their family into a deeper relationship with Christ that is a shinning example to the world around them.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.” – Ephesians 5:25
3. Pray for Strength and Joy:
Pastoral work can be stressful and difficult. So stressful that one could feel burned-out, exhausted, and maybe ready to throw in the towel. It can be a struggle to fight for joy. So let’s pray that the Holy Spirit refreshes our pastors with strength to fight for joy. So their joy in the Lord can be evident to all around them.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” – Romans 12:12
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” – Galatians 5:22
4. Pray They Don’t Fall Prey to Money and Fame:
As ministries grow and more church seats get filled, there can be a real struggle, a struggle against falling prey to money and fame. The ministry can become more about numbers, programs, motivational speeches, and money rather than the truth of the gospel. We pray our pastors won’t lead for money and fame, but lead by serving others.
“Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ” – Hebrews 13:5
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” – Matthew 6:24
5. Pray for Accountability:
At times it can be all too easy for pastors who have great authority to lead their ministry with zero checks and balances. Everyone becomes a yes sir. Pastors need people pouring into their life for accountability. Not just in church business affairs, but in their own personal life. How is their prayer life, time in the word, family life, sin, and their faithfulness to sound doctrine? So lets pray for pastors to seek accountability.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:16
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
6. Pray for Your Pastors Prayer Life:
It’s important that we have a pastor who constantly communes with our heavenly father. We must pray that our pastors have a healthy prayer life, not one that just prays for himself, but one that also prays for others in the congregation: the sick, the disabled, the widows, the elderly, the youth, the single mothers and fathers, and those who serve. Prayer is powerful and the pastor has to believe it.
“Pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
7. Pray We Show Grace to Our Pastors
Lastly I pray we show some grace to our pastors. I know we like to think they should be Superman and should always be there on the fly or should be flawless in their walk. Just as they are to humble themselves and serve, so are we. Pastors are sinners just like everyone else and need others to be by their side serving them and lifting them up and encouraging them in joy. After all, we are the body of Christ.
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” – Colossians 3:12
I would encourage you to jot down theses prayers in your journal or print them out. Meditate on them this week and pray for the pastors and leaders at VGF. Not only that but use this as a means to examine your own personal life. This is still applicable to all of God’s children and should be applied in all of our lives daily.