You can pray for me at every stop light!” shouted Pastor Tim from the back of the room. I was leading a prayer conference in a Chicago-area church, and I had been sharing how I often used a long traffic light as a reminder to pray for my pastor. Pastor Tim was letting his people know that he thought this was a great idea! Pastors want us to pray for them! And they really need our prayers. Why? Because they are under attack by Satan (and by parishioners as well!) more than anyone else in the church. Why are pastors a special target of the enemy?
- A pastor is more accountable to God than the average parishioner. James said that not many should desire to be teachers because they will come under greater judgment (Jas. 3:1). The accuser would like nothing more than to defeat the pastor/teacher and rub his or her nose in it.
- As the pastor’s spiritual life goes, so goes the congregation. If Satan can keep a pastor defeated and prayerless, most believers in his or her church will not grow spiritually. The prayer level of a church seldom rises above that of the pastor.
- When a pastor falls, more damage usually is done to the church than when anyone else in the church falls. People look to the pastor as their spiritual leader. Less mature believers are often very confused when someone they look up to spiritually lets them down. They may even fall away from the Lord in the confusion and hurt.
- The pastor is the most visible member of a church, so more damage is done to the ministry’s reputation in the community when he or she fails. It may affect the ministry of the church for a significant length of time. When scandal hits a church, nonbelievers tend to think there is no power in that religion. Ask God how you might help your pastor(s) —not only through your own prayers, but perhaps as a catalyst in rallying others to the call.
In the early 1900s, a well-known Presbyterian pastor named Wilbur Chapman recognized the value of people praying for him. Two older gentleman in his congregation began praying for him that the Holy Spirit would anoint his preaching every time he stepped into the pulpit. Soon, more people began praying for Chapman, and eventually more than 200 men were praying for him every Sunday. Over the next three years, Chapman’s church saw more than 1,100 people come into the kingdom!
What could happen in your church if you and a friend began faithfully covering your pastor in prayer? What if more pray-ers began to join you? You might be surprised at the results!
This article by Jonathan Graf was originally published in issue 43 of Pray! Magazine. Jonathan was the founding Editor of Pray!.