By Kim Butts
Pastors are burning out at an alarming rate! As Christians, we should feel deep agony over this fact, especially since the main reason for it appears to be . . . us! The very Christians who comprise the congregations of pastors who are rapidly dropping out of ministry are most often the cause for it. God has not called us to criticize or damage our pastors. He has called us to love them (1 Cor. 13:1-13), to be submissive to their leadership (Heb. 13:17), and to pray for them (1 Tim. 2:1-2). The Father has called our pastors, and has ordained them to be our shepherds (Acts 20:28).
How can you pray effectively for your pastor and his family? The first thing that is needed is to make a commitment to pray for them daily. If your pastor knew that you, your family, and others were praying for him each day . . . can you imagine what an encouragement that would be? Would his heart be lifted if he knew that he could share a need or a concern with your family and you would take it to the Lord on his behalf? You know it would!
Most pastors and their families feel very alone in the midst of their churches. Often, they don’t have close friends in the congregation to whom they can go with burdens. They may feel that they can’t share needs because they, of all people, should have everything running smoothly. In truth, the pastor’s family is just like yours. They struggle with similar issues and problems. They desperately need others to come alongside of them and commit to fervent, continuous prayer so that the enemy won’t have the opportunity to do damage. Your pastor’s ministry will only be as effective as the prayer that fuels it. If you want a joyful, Spirit-filled shepherd, who confidently leads his congregation into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, and demonstrates a passion for revival and for reaching the lost, then you must pray for him, and for his family!
Here are some specific ways that your family can pray for your pastor and his family:
Pray that your pastor will always have a passion to know Christ more intimately.
Prayer: Father, help our pastor to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings (Phil. 3:10). Since we know of his faith in the Lord Jesus and his love for all the saints, may we never stop giving thanks for him, always remembering him in our prayers. We will keep asking that You, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, will give him the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that he may know You better (Eph. 1:15-17).
Pray that your pastor will minister out of a humble spirit.
Prayer: Lord God Almighty, would You help our pastor to humble himself before You and under Your mighty hand, so that You will lift him up (Jas. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6)? Guide him in what is right and teach him Your way (Psa. 25:9). May our congregation see that he is wise and understanding as shown by his good life, and by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom (Jas. 3:13). Father, You have said that the one You esteem is he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and who trembles at Your Word (Isa. 66:2). May our pastor be such a person!
Pray that your pastor will minister from the Spirit’s power.
Prayer: Gracious Father, may our pastor’s messages and preaching come to us, not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that our faith might not rest on the wisdom of man, but upon Your power (1 Cor. 2:4-5). Help him never to depend upon his own might or power, but always upon Your Spirit, Lord Almighty (Zech. 4:6). May You, the God of hope, fill our pastor with all joy and peace as he trusts in you, so that he may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13).
Pray that your pastor will be a man of prayer and of the Word so that he can live a holy and pure life.
Prayer: Glorious God, we pray that our pastor will seek You with all of his heart. Help him never to stray from Your commands. May he hide Your Word in his heart so that he will not sin against You (Psa. 119:10-11). Give him deep desire to meditate on Your precepts and to consider Your ways. May he delight in Your decrees and never neglect Your Word (Psa. 119:15-16). Give him understanding so that he will keep your law and obey it with all of his heart. Direct him in the path of Your commands where he will find delight. Turn his heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain, and turn his eyes away from worthless things. Preserve his life according to Your Word (Psa. 119:34-37).
Pray for your pastor’s family.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, may our pastor fear You so that he will have a secure fortress that will always be a refuge for his children (Prov. 14:26). May he consistently teach his children to revere Your commands by following his example (Psa. 34:11), so that they might be blessed (Psa. 112:1-2). Help him to manage his family well so that his children will obey him with proper respect (1 Tim. 3:4-5). May he love his wife just as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25). Help him to be considerate and respectful to her so that nothing will hinder his prayers (1 Pet. 3:7). Faithful Lord, strengthen and protect our pastor and his family against the attacks of the enemy (2 Thess. 3:3), and may their household always choose to serve You (Josh. 24:15).
Pray for protection against the schemes of the devil.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help our pastor to be strong in Your mighty power. May he continually remember to clothe himself with Your armor so that he can take his stand against the devil’s schemes. Help him to remember that his struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Help him to stand his ground and to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around his waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with his feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. In addition, help him to daily take up the shield of faith so that he can extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one. May he put on the helmet of salvation and use the sword of the Spirit, Your Word. Give him the desire to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Help him to be continually alert, and to keep on praying for all the saints (Eph. 6:10-18). Don’t let the devil establish a foothold in any area of his life (Eph. 4:27). Help him to have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap (1 Tim. 3:7). May he continually submit himself to You, Father, and may he be self-controlled and alert in order to resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, so that the devil will flee (Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9). Keep him from temptation and deliver him from the evil one, Lord (Matt. 6:13).
Pray blessing into the life of your pastor and his family:
O Lord, our Rock and Redeemer, may the words of our pastor’s mouth and the meditation of his heart be pleasing in Your sight (Psa. 19:14).
May You, O Lord, give our pastor the desire of his heart and make all of his plans succeed (Psa. 20:4).
Lord, our God, may Your favor rest upon our pastor and establish the work of his hands (Psa. 90:17).
God of hope, may You fill our pastor with all joy and peace as he trusts in You, so that he may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13).
Lord of peace, may You give our pastor and his family peace at all times and in every way (2 Thess. 3:16).
May You, the God of peace, equip our pastor with everything good for doing Your will, and may You work in him what is pleasing to You, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Heb. 13:20-21).
Becoming the Answer Now that you have prayed for and blessed your pastor and his family, here are some practical ways to care for, encourage, and show your appreciation to them:
• Submit to the spiritual authority of your pastor and encourage others to do the same.
• Extend hospitality to your pastor and his family by inviting them to your home for a meal or including them in family activities. Think of other creative ideas.
• Recognize that your pastor’s family goes through the same struggles as everyone else’s families and be empathetic rather than critical.
• Give your pastor and his wife time together while you care for their children or hire someone to do so.
• Fix a meal and take it to them with an encouraging note.
• Take a basket of items such as fruit and nuts, freshly baked bread, etc.
• Send notes of encouragement and appreciation from your whole family; have your children draw pictures or write their own notes.
• Find out if there are any needs in their home that need attention: leaky shower, car repairs, yard work, etc. and see that they are taken care of.
• Recruit as many people as you can to pray regularly for your pastor and his family. Try to cover them in prayer seven days a week.
• Encourage your church leaders to send your pastor on a spiritual retreat so that he can be renewed and refreshed by the Holy Spirit.
Use your imagination. There are so many things you can do to show your love and appreciation.
Be determined to pray for and care for your pastor and his family, and allow the Lord to work in and through you by encouraging other families to do the same. Your simple efforts will do much to advance the cause of Christ in your church and community, as God does a mighty work in and through your pastor’s life. May your prayers and those of many others in your church, along with expressions of kindness, care and appreciation, keep pastors and their families safe, joyful and productive for many years to the glory and honor of Christ Jesus, our Lord!
Kim Butts is a vice president of networks for Harvest Prayer Ministries. She is also the author of The Praying Family.
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Home >> Scripture Prayers >> Praying For Pastor’s Family
It’s important to pray for your pastor’s family as well as the pastor, because if the enemy can’t get to the pastor, he’ll focus on his family.
If you belong to a religion where the pastor isn’t married, it doesn’t matter. He still had a mom and dad and other relatives. They all need to be covered in prayer. You can also pray these scriptures for your own family.
Praying For Pastor’s Family
1Pet 4:8………..Father, I pray that their family members love one another.
1Pet 4:9………..That they are hospitable to one another without complaint.
1Pet 4:11………Serving by the strength that You supply,
1Pet 4:11………so that in all things You may be glorified.
1Thes 5:11…….I pray that they encourage one another, comfort, edify,
Acts 20:32…….and build one another up.
Mt 18:19……….That they stand in agreement in every area of their lives,
Neh 8:10……….Letting the joy of the Lord be their strength,
Col 3:15………..with the peace of God ruling in their hearts.
Ps 138:8……….Father, I thank You that You’re perfecting
Ps 138:8……….everything concerning them.
Ps 92:10……….Anoint them with fresh oil.
Ps 103:5……….Satisfy them with good things,
Ps 103:5……….So that their youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Ps 92:14……….In old age they shall still bear fruit,
Ps 92:14……….and be fresh and flourishing.
Ps 91:16……….With a long life You will satisfy them.
Job 1:10………..Father, place a hedge of protection
Job 1:10………..around them, around their household,
Job 1:10………..and around all that they have on every side.
Ps 34:7…………I thank You that the angel of the Lord encamps
Ps 34:7…………round about them and delivers them from all evil,
Ps 91:3…………from the snare of the fowler, from every pestilence,
Ps 91:10……….and that no plague will come near their dwelling.
Prov 3:24……….They shall lie down and their sleep shall be sweet.
Prov 16:7……….Because their ways please You Lord,
Prov 16:7……….You make their enemies to be at peace with them.
Deut 29:9……….They keep Your word and do it,
Deut 29:9……….therefore, they prosper in all that they do.
Jn 15:4………….Because they abide in You and delight them selves in You,
Ps 37:4…………You give them the desires of their heart.
1Pet 5:6…………And because they humble themselves, exalt them in due season.
1Pet 4:19……….I thank You Father that they are committed to You, to doing good,
1Pet 5:7………..casting all their cares upon You, for You care for them.
1Pet 5:8………..That they are sober, vigilant, continually resisting the devil,
1Pet 5:9………..and steadfast in their faith.
1Pet 5:10……….Father, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle them in Jesus’ name.
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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 of 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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I recently wrote an article that posed one simple question: Why do so many pastors leave the ministry? In just a short time, it gathered quite a bit of feedback – both positive and negative – but, more importantly, it has opened up a fantastic dialogue.
One commenter shared his story: “I served as the pastor of only one church but my ministry there spanned over twenty-one years. My tenure was definitely successful based, of course, on the current ministry definition of success. The church grew in attendance over 600%, purchased over 20 acres of property, and built a new building completely – all completely debt free. When I came to the church, I envisioned that I would retire there. Today, I am out of the ministry and, at least at this point, out of church as well. What happened? I can only say that the tremendous growth placed tremendous demands on me, stretching me thinner and thinner until, at last, I broke. It’s been over a year since I left and I still struggle with the entire religious machine that has become the church.”
Another wrote, “We need to do a better job as churches in caring for pastors and their spouses.”
The article spurred on an array of follow-up questions like:
How can we change these statistics?
What are denominations currently doing to support pastors and the ones on their way out?
Why aren’t these things talked about in seminaries and bible colleges?
What can I do? How can we can pray for our pastors?
It seems we have more questions than answers. And rightfully so. We are losing too many pastors. They are overworked, underpaid, and unprepared. They’re lonely. They struggle with depression and discouragement and their families are falling apart. And it appears that nothing is being done, at least from a broad stroke perspective, about the mass exodus.
While we’re waiting to find the answers to these questions, I think it’s equally important to shift our focus and seek God through prayer. Another commenter said, “I believe the key to a successful ministry is to have a strong support system already in place to allow the power of prayer to work its miracles.”
Andrew Bonar, author and minister, once wrote: “O brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper–and sleep too–than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgin slumbers.”
Using my previous article as a springboard, here is how I urge you to pray:
Many pastors are overworked.
Pray that the stress of being overwhelmed, overcommitted, overbusy, and under-appreciated doesn’t get in the way of their calling and cause destruction in their families. Pray that God would provide workers, volunteers and elders, to come alongside your pastor and assist in continuing the work of God. John 14:1, Acts 6:2-4
Many pastors feel unprepared.
Pray that your pastor would be given the knowledge to counsel and mentor, the wisdom to confront when necessary, and discernment when seeking God’s leading and direction for the church. In particular, pray (Isaiah 11:2 NLT) that “the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, and the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
Many pastors struggle with depression and discouragement.
Pray that the pressures of your pastor and their families would be relieved, that encouragement would reign in their lives, and that your church would be a community that offers unconditional grace and unrestricted forgiveness. Rom. 15:4-6, 2 Thess. 2:16-17
Many pastor’s families are negatively impacted.
Pray for solid, joyful, Christ-exalting marriages. Pray that church leadership would recognize and provide for your pastor’s family – for their personal, spiritual, and physical needs, so that they won’t be distracted from the ministry God has called them to. Acts 12:5, 1 Timothy 5:17,18
Many pastors are lonely.
Pray that your pastor would establish a handful of close friendships with godly men. Pray for one close friendship in which he could be fully transparent and spiritually accountable in all areas of life and ministry.
There are many (so many more than are listed here) ways we should be praying for our pastoral staff – for joy, discipline, accountability and integrity, among others. John Piper, Will Bruce, and Nicholas Batzig have written some great articles on praying for pastors and pastoral staff. My friend, Tim Challies, has gathered a list of articles on how to pray for pastors and staff. I encourage you to check those out as well.
Pastors are not exempt from the dangers and temptations that each of us face and they need our prayers just as much as we need theirs. As we move toward answering some of these unanswered questions, I encourage you to start with prayer. Because if all else seems impossible, prayer is the one thing we can turn to.
In what other areas can we can pray for our pastor?
Photo courtesy: Greg Shield