Some times pastors become overwhelmed and quit the ministry (Don't worry I'm not thinking about quitting nor am I having one of those low days in ministry. I'm writing this to help the saints help their pastors). One of the main reasons pastors give for quitting is that they do not believe they are appreciated. This is the reason October was designated as pastor appreciation month. It is a whole month wherein people honor their pastors and show them they are appreciated. In most churches across the land one of the elders, or deacons works behind the scenes to receive a special offering for the Sr. Pastor or have a party in his honor. Some churches even honor the assistant pastors during this time.
Pastor appreciation aside, I believe one of the greatest ways you can help your pastor is to pray for him/her. Here are a few tips on how to help your pastor through the ministry of prayer.
I. Strive Together With Them.
Romans 15:30 says, Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,
The Greek word for strive together is agonidzo and means to agonize, intense agony, a violent struggle, anguish, contending with an enemy, fighting in a contest.
This is serious prayer that cost you something. This is prayer that is heartfelt and intense. This means that we should spend some considerable time praying for our pastors every day, lifting their ministry before the Lord.
What the apostle Paul is saying here is that he didn't want to fight the battle he was fighting alone. He needed some serious prayer warriors standing with him and praying with him.
In order to "strive together" with our pastors we need to know what they want prayer for. We need to listen to their sermons and conversations and find out what they need us to back them up in prayer on and then pray diligently. Every pastor has a burden for their church so pray for the church they pastor. Every pastor has a desire to fulfill God's vision for their church so find out what the vision of the house is and pray fervently for it. Every pastor has a desire for church growth so pray for church growth. Every pastor wants unity in the church so pray for unity. Every pastor that is Spirit-filled wants a glorious move of the Holy Spirit so pray for a glorious move of the Holy Spirit. Most
pastors want greater financial blessing in the church so he can do more to spread the gospel in his community so pray for more money to come in. Every full gospel, Spirit-filled pastor wants to see healings, miracles, and
deliverances in his ministry so pray for these things. Every pastor needs good health and a blessed marriage so pray for his family. Pastors need a divine hedge of prayer protection around them so pray for them to be hedged about with powerful warring angels and protected by the Holy Spirit.
I'm inviting you all to be my prayer partners. I appreciate your prayers. Our churches have a great group of trained prayer warriors who really know how to pray for their pastors because of teachings like this.
II. Deliverance From Unbelievers.
The next thing that the apostle Paul requested the Roman Church to pray for is "that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe…(Ro 15:31)."
I have found that there are two types of believers. The first type is the "ubelieving Unbeliever" These people don't believe in God. They don't believe there is a day of reconing, and they believe they can do whatever they want to a man or woman of God without consequence. They oppose the gospel outright and they have evil designs. Paul said, to pray for him that he would be delivered from this type of unbeliever. I have had people threaten the life of myself and my wife for preaching the gospel and trying to pastor someone in my flock that they were close to. One man was so brazen as to say, "I don't operate on the same principles you do, you blankety blank so and so" Little did he know he just added to my eternal blessings that day (Mt. 5:11).
Then there are the "unbelieving believers" they profess to believe in salvation and some have even prayed a sinner's prayer, but they don't really believe many other parts of the Bible. They pick and choose what portions of scripture they want to believe. Many "church people" fall into this category. Some of these people might even hear a "depart from me, I never knew you" from the Lord.
Paul asked that the true believers would pray from him that he would be delivered from this type of unbeliever. They persecute men of God who stand on the whole word. They attack him if he preaches straight and calls sin, sin. They get angry if he corrects them about their half hearted walk or their carnal ways. They gnash their teeth at him if he preaches on tithing.
They want to feel good while they attend church and do their own thing, and preachers of righteousness make them feel convicted and "uncomfortable"
True believers need to pray for pastors and men of God to be protected from the verbal assault of people like this. Instead of preying on the pastor they needto pray for the pastor.
These unbelieving "believers" attack the vision, and say it can't be done. They get negative and critical of the pastor. If the pastor makes any changes they don't like they whimper and whine and try to get up a group to oppose him. They even manipulate by withholding their tithes and offerings. If things don't go the way they expect they leave the church and try to take all their friends with them. They hurt the church and then they get into trouble with God, when they do this, but they usually blame the pastor for that too, just as the children of Israel blamed Moses, for God's
dealings with them. See Numbers 14.
Are you beginning to see why pastors need your prayers?
How To Pray For Your Pastors II
I previously stated some pretty serious illustrations of things people do to pastors. These illustrations were so explicit regarding the abuse that pastors sometimes endure at the hands of people who are walking in the flesh or are down right demonized, that they could have made you a little disappointed in church people. I did this for a reason however, in order to make a strong point. Pastors need your serious prayers. Pastors are human too. They have feelings. They have lives. They have families. They have needs and they are on the front lines of spiritual warfare.
Below are the first two points covered earlier.
I. Strive together with the Pastor in Prayer.
This means really pray diligently and fervently for him.
II. Deliverance of the Pastor from Unbelieving people.
God gives people a free will. Unbelieving people can really attack a man or woman of God. Christians throughout the world are persecuted by unbelieving Religious zealots like the Islamic Terrorists, Radical Hindus, and godless Athiests.
It is vital that we remember to pray for our pastors. The health of our churches and our own spiritual health depends on it. Here are some more things to pray for when you pray for your pastors:
III. Receptivity of Pastor's Ministry.
"that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, Romans 15:31)."
People can sit in church and hear sermons with their physical ears, but not hear them with their spiritual ears. This is why Jesus said, "he who has ears to hear…" They all had ears, but not all had ears to hear the spiritual truths Jesus was teaching. There are natural ears that hear natural things and there are spiritual ears who can hear spiritual things. When the anointing comes upon people they are able to hear spiritual truths. When the Holy Spirit gives them the grace of receptivity and affects them so that they have open hearts they will "receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21)."
Because of excessive media coverage regarding a small percentage of pastors who have given the ministry and Christianity a bad name, nowadays people are overly suspicious of ministers. "Evil surmisings" (I Tim 6:4), carnal
suspicions and distrust can get into people's hearts and block their receptivity. Don't allow this to happen to you, and pray that others will be open to receive from your godly pastors. One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch. Most pastors are in ministry because they were called to it and they love Jesus and they love people. Most pastors are genuinely trying to help people experience the same joy and victory they have experienced as a result of the work of the Lord in their own hearts. When you find something really good and there's an abundance of it, you want to share it. Well there is nothing better than the Lord and there's enough of Him for the whole world forever.
I've had people tell me that they're not ever going to go to a church again, because the pastor hurt them. I say, "Well I guess that means if you go to a restaurant and get a rude waitress you stop eating out altogether?" What's wrong with trying another restaurant, or going to another church, where you'll receive the truth preached in a spirit of love?
Pray the people will be open and receptive to the truth and want to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and that they will receive the pastor's message (providing he's preaching the Word of God).
I sent out an Anointed Word about a month ago on guidance. A woman with a teachable and right heart said, it was so good and so helpful she read it over and over and forwarded it to some of her friends. Some of the leaders in our
churches commented on how much they were blessed by it. That same week, A minister in another state, with a hurting and envious spirit, got angry and wrote me a scathing rebuke, picking apart everything I said. He wrongly
accused me of using formulas, and not emphasizing enough of a relationship with the Lord.
I prayed for him and later he sent me an apology and admitted he was wrong. Our receptivity level depends a great deal upon where our heart is when the Word is preached to us. Some people, who heard the Apostle Paul, received Christ and got saved and changed their lives positively, while others sought to stone him to death. Receptivity makes or breaks a church. A negative spirit can spread discontentment to the point that people wouldn't receive the Word even if Jesus Christ Himself were the preacher. Entuhsiasm spreads too. If most of the people in a church have A positive upbeat spirit about the Word of God that will spread to promote receptivity. Determine that you're going to every service with a receptive heart and that you're going to pray for the pastor to be well received among the entire congregation.
IV. Pray The Pastor is Able to Keep His Joy.
"That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God… (Ro. 15:32)."
The Joy of the Lord is our strength. Any Christian in their right mind wants their pastor to be strong, after all they never know when they might need to call on him to help them get through a personal crisis. They just might need that man of God to stand with them for a healing or have a supernatural need that they need to pray for.
I venture to say that you don't like misery in your work place any more than I do.
That's why the Word of God tells us to pray for our leaders that they can serve us with Joy. Pastors with joy have greater strength and are more winsome to new people that visit their church than their worn out grieved colleagues who have rebellious flocks. They are more desirable to be around and are more effective in serving their flocks. People can help a church or hinder it by their attitudes toward their leadership.
Several issues that grieve a pastor and the Lord are people who have stubborn, obstinate, or rebellious spirits. This is why the Word of God says, "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." It
is unprofitable for us to grieve the men of God over us in the Lord. We're supposed to take heed to the Word of the Lord they teach and remember what they have taught us and try to comply with the Word. Heb. 13:7 says, "Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct."
Pastors have an awesome responsibility. They are supposed to pray diligently and listen to the Holy Spirit. They are supposed to have a timely word for every service they preach. They are supposed to nurture the flock of God, visit the sick, encourage the discouraged, lift up the down cast, strengthen the weak, and teach the people how to walk with the Lord. They are called to be visionaries, encouragers, and overseers. Those who are not ear ticklers and people pleasers know they are responsible to preach the truth in love and declare the whole counsel of God's Word. When they do this they are inevitably going to step on a few toes. Pray that God will keep the pastor strong in joy so that in spite of who or what comes against him he can still maintain the joy of the Lord and be a blessing to the people.
How To Pray For Your Pastors III
One of the most important people you can pray for is your pastor. Pastors are human. They go through tests and trials just like anyone else and being on the front lines they need as much prayer power as they can get. The Apostle Paul was very aware of his need for the saints to pray for him.
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my
service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen (Ro. 15:30-32).
V. Pray Your Pastor Will Know the Will of God.
Notice the words, "by the will of God" in verse 32. Paul diligently sought to know God's will. It is vital that every believer know the will of God for their lives, but it is extremely crucial that a Pastor or Christian leader know the will of God. If the pastor doesn't know the will of God it can hurt or hinder all of the people his ministry touches. I once heard a preacher say, "As many people as you can help, that's how many people you can hurt."
The enemy is always trying to trip a pastor up. Over the past 25 years of pastoring and Church planting I've made my share of mistakes. Every mistake I've ever made was because I didn't accurately discern the will of God in that situation. I've learned to move more slowly and prayerfully as I've gotten older and hopefully wiser. I yearn for the will of God more than anything. Only the will of God will prosper. Only the will of God will put you over. Only the will of God will bring you true success. Only the will of God will bring you fulfillment. Only the will of God really matters. In the end, our rewards will be based on what we did to fulfill the will of God. All other activity is simply "wood, hay and straw." (I Cor. 3:10-15)
Just think. We are God's fellow workers. We are partnering together with God. However we must remember that we are the servants and He is the Master. We are working in His vineyard, and we must do it His way or it's fruitless. Paul built as a wise master builder.
I have built homes and churches and many different things. Before building it is wise to have a set of plans.Then you build based on the plans. Paul understood that God was the architect, and that he simply followed the plan as given to him by the Lord. He wasn't building his own kingdom, but the Lord's. We must know the will of the Lord in order to build for the Lord. His plan is paramount.
Pray for your pastors daily that they will know the will of the Lord. Don't presume that you know the will of the Lord and know more than he does, but pray God will show him what he needs to do and then having prayed in faith trust God to lead your pastor. God can lead your pastor to make the right decisions. If the Lord can turn the hearts of kings who were pretty carnal, He can surely lead and guide a pastor who wants His will.
VI Pray Your Pastor Is Refreshed
Everyone needs rejuvenation. Most people spend plenty of time resting, relaxing and in recreation to get their physical body replenished and their mind relaxed. Few spend equivalent time refreshing their spirits. Paul wanted prayer that he would be refreshed. The Holy Spirit can refresh us. The Word of God says the presence of the Lord refreshes us. Just as drinking a cool, clean glass of water refreshes our body and quenches our thirst, so also does the Holy Spirit refresh our spirits and fulfills the longing of our soul.
Acts 3:19 says, Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
Prayer for your leaders makes ministry go smoother and helps free up time for them to spend with the Lord. Also, when believers enter into corporate prayer for their pastors by coming to pre-service prayer, they help bring the refreshing winds of the Holy Spirit into the church service. As the corporate anointing increases through prayer, the pastor is also refreshed when he goes to church. Every church should pray at least an hour before the church service for the presence of God to be strong. The manifest presence of God refreshes pastor and congregation alike. Everyone is blessed more when people pray.
VII Pray for An Anointing Upon Your Pastor to Preach.
God called us to pray for our preachers and pray the Holy Spirit will move upon them and speak through them with boldness. We need to pray they will have the Word of the Lord on their lips and that revelation knowledge will flow through them. Instead of picking a sermon apart or resisting the Word because we don't want to change, we should pray for the preacher and ask God to give him a bold message that will bring revelation and conviction to us. We should actually want to hear from God through the preacher. The Holy Spirit can supernaturally anoint the Word being preached so that it will be fresh manna from heaven for everyone in the audience who has ears to hear.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, (Eph 6:18,19).
God's Blessings to you,
Bishop Darrell Ellis
Anointed Word International Fellowship