Pastors need prayer more than criticism. Pastors need prayer more than advice. Pastors need prayer more than finances.
If you are not praying for your pastor, consider stopping the talk to others, and talk to God about the following needs of your pastor:
#1 - Their Connection With God
Nothing is more important in a senior pastors life than his personal walk with God–nothing. This is where vision takes place–there is where God sets our hearts on fire like in Jeremiah 20:9. This is where PERSONAL conviction, correction and encouragement takes place…and the thing EVERYONE OF US NEED more than anything is to REMAIN IN HIM so that our ministry will be fruitful. (John 15:5).
#2 - Their Family
The pastor's family goes through things that most pastors will not talk about in front of their church. There is usually constant pressure on the children. People expect the pastor's companion to be perfect. AND … what the family goes through spiritually is INTENSE. One pastor confided that their companion has nightmares five or six nights a week. If you want to BLESS your pastor–COVER their family in prayer!
#3 - Their Relationship With The Staff
The elephant that exists in many churches is that the pastor and the staff don’t really like each other … or there are some serious jealousy issues in regards to the senior pastor and the church staff. “I do as much as Pastor does … so why do they get …” You get the picture.
Pray for the staff to be loyal to the vision. How marvelous it would be to have an environment where everyone loves each other. Pray for the staff to help lift up the pastor's arms so the enemy can be defeated. (Exodus 17:8-16). Pray that there never to be any unresolved conflict so that ministry does not turn into a war zone.
#4 - Their Spiritual Warfare
You would not believe what a pastor faces in regards to spiritual warfare.
Most pastors have serious bouts with depression (especially on Sunday night and Monday morning.) Every time a critic attacks, it takes a chunk out of his soul … whether they admit it or not. Pastors have SERIOUS struggles WHILE preaching messages … thoughts like, “Hey idiot, these people hate you. They aren't listening to you – they all wish you were dead.”
The pastor goes through INTENSE spiritual warfare … so pray he would walk in victory, resist temptation, hear the voice of Jesus … and so on!
#5 - Their Rest
Many pastors are borderline hypocrites. They teach their churches to follow God’s Word – but then they often violate one of the top ten commandments by not taking a day of rest. (See Exodus 20:8-11, I wonder why God took more time to explain this command than the rest … maybe because it is IMPORTANT!).
It’s tough for some pastors because, well, they serve a lazy bunch of people who expect him to do all the work while they sit on their pew and have meetings about how inefficient the pastor is. (This is why the average stay for a pastor in America today is less than two years – many churches KILL pastors!).
But, for others, where the church does not expect the pastor to do it all, the pastor still can never truly disengage from what God has called them to do. They are always thinking about what’s next. They can’t shake the upcoming sermon from their thought pattern. And, they always feel like they should be doing something.
Pray for your pastor to get rest – the last thing the world needs is ONE MORE burned out pastor. Pray that they will have at least one day a week where they completely disengage from the ministry. And, pray that they will have about four or five times a year where they can get away for at least three or four days to chill and relax.
(For the church member somewhere out there that just thought, “I don’t get that.” True … but you also don’t have to go to bed at night with the reality of Hebrews 13:17 hanging over you. So, just pray for your pastor. If your pastor will take more time off, their walk will be stronger, their marriage will be better, and God will fill them with greater vision.)
So there you have it. Please pray for your pastor. If you want to know how to pray for your pastor more specifically–ASK them. I'm sure they will let you know.
[Based on Perry Noble]