I just finished doing some fairly heavy-duty intercession for a pastor-friend of mine. He's not in trouble. He's not at an important crossroads. His marriage is good, his congregation is thriving. he is enjoying God, and God seems to be enjoying him. But every Sunday I do serious intercession for him anyhow.
Why? For one thing, because I think pastors are huge targets of the enemy. Someone once said it's as if they wear giant bulls-eyes on their backs, just waiting for spiritual darts to come flying at them. They need spiritual protection. For another thing, they are weak human beings like the rest of us. Apart from Jesus, they can't do a spiritually worthwhile thing--just as we can't. They need the Holy Spirit to fill them and flow through them, and I believe my prayers can help open the way for Him to do that. Finally, praying for pastors is probably one of the most supportive, caring things we can do for them. I want my friend to know he's not out there on his own--that someone cares for his ministry and even for his soul.
There are lots of ways to pray for pastors; I certainly didn't invent the idea! But here's what I do: Pastor B gives me his sermon text ahead of time. Early Sunday morning I read through the Bible passage a couple of times, asking God what He wants to do with this particular congregation on this particular Sunday. I listen quietly for His response. Generally some ideas start surfacing. At this point, I start typing, in the form of a prayer addressed to God. I ask Him to do the things for this church and through this pastor that I sense Him speaking into my heart. Then I copy the prayer I've typed into an email and shoot it over to my friend.
Very often Pastor B tells me that the Lord uses my intercession to encourage him. Sometimes he says that what the Lord gave me to pray confirmed something he'd been thinking about doing or saying. And sometimes he says that the things God led me to pray were the very things he'd been asking God to do already. Always I feel privileged to know that I get to participate in my friend's ministry through prayer.
October is Clergy Appreciation Month. For ideas and
resources about how to participate, check out the Pray! article, "Assignment: Lighten the Load"
or take a peek at the prayer card, "Scripture-Based Prayers to Pray for Your Pastor".
Also, we’d love to hear from pastors out there: Are people
praying for you? If not, do you wish they were? If so, what are your thoughts
about and experiences with people praying on your behalf?