The pastor’s role is not easy, and it isn’t one that comes without opposition. As a pastor seeks to feed his flock God’s Word, comfort them when afflicted, protect them from danger, and minister the gospel to their souls, he has a target on his back. The enemy knows that “striking the shepherd will scatter the sheep” (Mark 14:27). Pastors need to be on their guards against the world, the flesh, and the devil which can subtly–or not so subtly–lure them away from serving the God they love.
To stand firm in the ministry and fulfill God’s calling, pastors need to be men of prayer and need the prayers of believers in their congregation. The Apostle Paul asked for prayer several times in his letters, for rescue from unbelievers (Romans 15:30-33), for a bold gospel proclamation (Ephesians 6:19-20), and that the word of the Lord would speed ahead and be honored (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). If Paul needed prayer, your pastor does too!
Praying for your pastor is joining him in ministry. Paul says in his letters, “…strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf…” (Romans 15:30) and “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).
Your prayers for your pastor and your church will strengthen the work being done and be a service to him.
If you’re wondering how to pray for your pastor, below are several suggestions from Scripture for the pastor’s personal life, family life, and ministry life. The corresponding Bible verses listed provide a command or additional support on how to pray for pastors.
- 1 Pray for Your Pastor’s Personal Life
- 2 Pray for Your Pastor’s Family Life
- 3 Pray for Your Pastor’s Ministry Life
- 4 #1 – For Protection From Satan
- 5 #2 – For Protection Against His Own Sinful Heart
- 6 #5 – For Doctrinal Faithfulness
- 7 #7 – For A Strong Marriage and Family
- 8 Sustained By Prayer
- 9 5 Specific Ways to Pray for Your Pastor
Pray for Your Pastor’s Personal Life
- For him to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33)
- To have a deep delight in the Word of God (Psalm 1:1-3)
- For deep satisfaction in Christ (Psalm 63:5-7)
- For a deep and vibrant prayer life (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- To model the character God mandates for leaders (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9)
- That he wouldn’t be greedy, but content and managing money well (Titus 1:7; 1 Timothy 6:6-10)
- That he would watch his life and doctrine closely (1 Timothy 4:16)
- To be growing in holiness and in hatred for sin and evil (1 Thessalonians 4:3; Proverbs 8:13)
- To constantly walk by the Spirit and display fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 22-23)
- For him to find his identity first in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- For a transformed and a continually renewed mind (Romans 12:2)
- To display a spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2-3)
- For him to abide in Christ and receive spiritual vitality from Christ (John 15:5)
- That his life would constantly be increasing in faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Peter 1:5-9)
- To be constantly growing in faith and the obedience of faith (Romans 1:4)
- To do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)
- Model a life of faith and true religion that is unpolluted by the world (James 1:27)
- To enjoy adequate and nourishing rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
- Deep relationships with other believers who can hold him accountable (Proverbs 27:17)
- Protection against Satan and his schemes (Ephesians 6:11)
- That he would walk in a manner worthy of the calling he received (Philippians 1:27)
Pray for Your Pastor’s Family Life
- If married, that he would love his wife and cultivate a strong marriage (Ephesians 5:25)
- For him to lead his wife to be respectable, sober-minded, and faithful in all things (1 Timothy 3:11)
- To be a godly, dedicated, and loving father (1 Timothy 3:4-5)
- For his children to grow up in the fear of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)
- That God would protect their marriage from inside and outside attacks (Ephesians 5:28-33; Ephesians 4:27)
- That his family would be united in ministry and pursuit of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:20-25)
Pray for Your Pastor’s Ministry Life
- For his mouth to be filled with the Spirit’s words in conversation and from the pulpit (1 Corinthians 2:13)
- Faithfulness in preaching the Word and applying it to the congregation (2 Timothy 4:1-2)
- That he would preach Jesus Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23, 2:2)
- That his leadership, vision, and service would be in accords with God’s will (Philippians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 12:11)
- To be respected and well thought of by outsiders (1 Timothy 3:2, 7)
- That he would be a pray-er for the congregation (Ephesians 1:16, 3:14-19)
- To offer wise counsel and comfort to his flock (Colossians 1:28; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Galatians 6:1)
- To teach sound doctrine and rebuke those who oppose it (Titus 1:9, 2:1)
- To be wise in practicing discernment and carrying out church discipline (1 John 4:1; Philippians 1:9-10)
- To diligently work to rightly handle the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
- To be a disciple and a disciple maker who equips other disciple makers
- That he will persevere in ministry and through trials (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5; Galatians 6:9; Romans 5:25)
- That he would be disciplined and a hard worker (Titus 1:8; Col 3:23)
- To protect and shepherd the flock while following the True Shepherd (Ezekiel 34; John 10:11-16)
- To have patience and grace with difficult people (Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:3)
- For him to strengthen the weak, comfort the sick, bring the back the stray, seek the lost (Ezekiel 34:16)
- That your pastor and the church’s governing body would be united with their focus on Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10; John 17:23)
- To be hospitable and create a welcoming atmosphere in the church (Romans 12:13)
- To be a wise administrator and steward (1 Corinthians 12:27-28; Titus 1:8-11)
- For protection from the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25)
- For the church’s protection from Satan (Ephesians 6:12)
- To proclaim the Gospel boldly and clearly (Ephesians 6:19)
- For God to open a door for the gospel (Colossians 4:3)
- For his words to be carefully chosen, gracious, and seasoned with salt (James 3:8; Colossians 4:6)
- A proper alignment of priorities (Matthew 22:37-40)
- That he would avoid gossip, dissention, and unprofitable speech and lead others away from it as well (Ephesians 4:29)
What else should we pray for? Share your prayer ideas in the comment section below.
Pastoral ministry is a business unlike any other. It is a dangerous business. A sacred business. A business where the souls of people are at stake.
I was a pastor for many years, so I have a feel for the perils and pleasures of ministry. It’s very hard, supremely rewarding work.
Gardiner Spring said:
It is at a fearful expense that ministers are ever allowed to enter the pulpit without being preceded, accompanied, and followed by the earnest prayers of the churches. It is no marvel that the pulpit is so powerless, and ministers so often disheartened when there are so few to hold up their hands…When the churches cease to pray for ministers, ministers will no longer be a blessing to the churches.
In light of the challenges of ministry, here are 8 prayers every church member should pray for their pastor(s) on a regular basis.
#1 – For Protection From Satan
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
If Satan can take down a shepherd of God’s people, the odds are much higher that God’s people will scatter. That they’ll become bitter and disenfranchised. They will question everything they’ve ever been taught by that pastor. Satan targets pastors because the damage is exponential if they fall. Pray for your pastor that he would be kept safe from Satan.
Father, please protect my pastor from the attacks of Satan. Give him the strength to endure temptation and stand firm against the accusations Satan loves to whisper in his ear. Help him stand firm in your service, always fighting for the faith and for his people.
#2 – For Protection Against His Own Sinful Heart
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)
Pastors don’t fall because one day, out of the blue, they decide to dive headlong into sin. The slide into sin happens slowly, over time, in small increments, as the pastor believes the lies presented to him by his flesh. Pray for your pastor that he would be on guard against the lies of sin. Pray that he would have a proper fear of God.
Father, please protect my pastor from the deceitfulness of sin that we all are so prone to. Guard him from sin. Keep his conscience tender and fresh. Keep him close to you and close to your word.
#3 – For Deep Spiritual Encouragement
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:11-12)
Pastoral ministry can be brutal, discouraging work. Pastors find themselves in the midst of terrible situations on a regular basis – divorce, death, apostasy, and much more. It’s also challenging because they don’t see progress in the sense that other jobs do. Christians are always in progress. Because of this, discouragement and depression can be a regular companion of the minister. Pray for your pastor to be encouraged.
Father, please encourage my pastor by the power of your Spirit. Let his soul be refreshed with the love of Christ. Let him have faith for the future. Help him to keep pressing forward even when the way is littered with landmines. Let him be refreshed by the fact that your grace is sufficient for him.
#4 – For Wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
Many elements of pastoral ministry are not black and white. A husband and wife are in serious conflict, and the husband has one story while the wife has another. A church member needs financial support but has a history of mismanaged finances. A young man struggles with same-sex attraction while still wanting to follow Jesus. Pastors need God’s wisdom to navigate these gray areas.
Father, please give my pastor your wisdom. Help him know the way to go even when the way is not clear. Give him discernment to know good from evil, even when evil is dressed as good. Help him apply your word to even the most confusing situations.
#5 – For Doctrinal Faithfulness
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:14).
Pastors can be tempted to modify or even abandon biblical doctrines for a variety of reasons. Cultural pressures, vocal church members, even legal actions can press hard upon pastors, making them feel that the only way out is to give up the clear teaching of Scripture. They need God’s grace to stay faithful to the good deposit of God’s word.
Father, I pray for my pastor that you would help him hold fast to Scripture, even when everyone else tells him to let go. Help him stand on your word and only your word. Protect him from the temptation to abandon the precious truths laid out in Scripture.
#6 – For A Healthy Body
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Ministry can take a tremendous toll on a pastor’s body. Yes, our bodies are temples, but they are often broken temples. Long nights at the hospital, high-stress situations, and ever-present discouragement can quickly lead to burnout and body betrayal. Not only do pastor’s need spiritual strength, they need physical strength as well. Pray for your pastor that he would be sustained in body and mind.
Father, please give my pastoral supernatural strength. Protect him from sickness and disease. Give him your energy to keep serving faithfully. Help him to find periods of rest and recovery. Guide him to still waters.
#7 – For A Strong Marriage and Family
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church (1 Timothy 3:2-6)
Church history is littered with the skeletons of pastors whose marriages and families fell apart under the strain of pastoral ministry. And as 1 Timothy states, if a pastor can’t manage his family, how can he manage the church of God? Satan loves to sabotage a pastor’s family, and your pastor needs prayer that God will give him a healthy marriage and family.
Father, please give my pastor a supernaturally healthy marriage. Strengthen the bonds between him and his wife. Encourage them both in ministry. Give both of them wisdom to manage their family and to keep you at the center, not ministry. I also pray for their children that you would let them know you and follow you.
#8 – For Meaningful Friendships
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
Pastoral ministry can be surprisingly lonely. Something about being in a position of leadership isolates the man. People look to him to be a teacher and leader, not be their close friend. Pastors need close friends who will encourage them, hold them accountable, and push them toward Christ.
Father, please give my pastor true, deep, sustaining friendships. Give him friends who stick closer than brothers. Who uphold him when he’s weary. Who help carry his burdens.
Sustained By Prayer
In some ways, pastors are sustained by the prayers of their people. Obviously, God is the one who ultimately sustains pastors, but one of his primary means is through the prayers for pastors.
When it comes to why you should pray for your pastor, take the words of Charles Spurgeon to heart:
No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.
Do your pastor a true kindness today. Pray for your pastor.
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Every Christ-follower engaged in a local church has a pastor. These followers of Christ should pray for their pastor.
Pastors may appear as though they are so strong they do not need prayer. But I can assure you, any pastor genuinely called to the ministry knows he needs prayer; earnest, passionate and effective prayer. “Pray for me” should be the number one personal request from a pastor of the church he serves.
Stand on God’s Word When You Pray for Your Pastor
I think the strength of prayer stands on the authority of Holy Scripture. You need to stand on the infallibility and truthfulness of God’s Word when you pray for your pastor. I want to challenge you to pray while standing on Colossians 1:9-12:
For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, so that you may have endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.
Paul was praying this for the believers in Colossae, and these words can be prayed for your pastor.
5 Specific Ways to Pray for Your Pastor
Pray for your pastor to be:
1. Filled with the knowledge of God’s will
Pastors face the same dilemma people faced in the first century, when these words were penned originally. The knowledge of the world pours into the minds of pastors, but pastors need to have the full knowledge of God’s will. The will of God does not inflate a pastor’s ego, but it enlightens us to do what God wills for us to do.
Father, give my pastor the full knowledge of Your will in all things at all times, personally and for our church.
2. Filled with all spiritual wisdom
Pastors will view life from one of two perspectives: the world or the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit will always lead a pastor to the Word of God and the will of God. The Spirit of God will lead a pastor to view life and ministry from God’s perspective, not his own. His perspective will determine his decision making.
Heavenly Father, fill my pastor with Your wisdom and perspective about all things in his life, in our church and in this world.
3. Filled with spiritual understanding
Pastors can operate and lead the church apart from information and facts, but not very effectively. Spiritual understanding is the experience of seeing the facts and hearing the needed information, but being able to put these things together biblically, spiritually and practically.
One of the most effective ways you can minister to your pastor is to pray for him. As normal, ordinary men, pastors are fallible and must consistently pursue the character God requires of them, as well as faithfully completing the many duties attached to their roles. Knowing that others are praying for him is an encouragement to the heart of a man who longs to give his best to God! As you seek to pray for your pastor, consider praying for two areas of his life: his personal needs as well as his spiritual needs.
- Effective use of time. There are many tasks to accomplish during your pastor’s workday. Pray that he will use those hours in a way that will allow him to accomplish much.
- Strong relationship with his wife and children.
- Time with family. Often church activities occur in the evenings or on weekends. Ask God to provide other times when your pastor can have quality time with his wife and children.
- Physical and mental strength. Pastors often work much more than a forty-hour week studying and preparing for speaking and counseling, being available to those who need advice or friendship, and attending church meetings and functions. It can be an exhausting life.
- Opportunities to relax. Ask God to give your pastor time away from the rigors of ministry to do things that he enjoys.
- Wisdom. We often think of this as a spiritual need, and it is. However, pastors have to make decisions for their own families for which they need guidance from God.
- For Christ to live through him (Galatians 2:20)
- Faithfulness to spend time reading God’s Word every day (Psalm 119:11)
- An intimate knowledge of God (Philippians 3:10)
- Fear of God — respect and awe for Him (Proverbs 1:7)
- Strength to stand firm for the principles of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:10-11, 13)
- To live according to the Holy Spirit’s direction (Galatians 5:25) and worthy of his calling (Ephesians 4:1) as a good soldier of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
- Accuracy as he presents the truths of Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Contentment in his present ministry (Philippians 4:11-13)
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
– We have all
and deserve God’s judgment.
, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He
for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was
rose from the dead
according to the
. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your
, declaring, “
Jesus is Lord
,” you will be saved from
and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow JesusYes, I am already a follower of JesusI still have questions