When we go to the Scriptures, one example of a pastor who believed in the power of prayer was the Apostle Paul. He was a man passionate about prayer and we see this throughout his letters. Here are just a few examples:
In Romans 15:30, he writes:
“I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf…”
This “striving” is almost a sense of fighting together in prayer! Paul understood the battle he was in. “Oh, I need your prayers! Strive together with me, fight together with me in prayer! For this ministry, for these people!”
In Ephesians 6:18 – 20, Paul here is unapologetically asking the Christians in Ephesus to pray for him:
“…at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
With Paul, in our churches and ministries, prayer must be a top priority. Over the next few days I want to share twelve specific ways biblical pastors must pray for our lives and ministries. These are twelve key areas in which not only we as individuals need to be praying, but also our church members. I will share the first 3 today in this post...
1. Pray we will keep our eyes on God and not take a step apart from God’s leading.
As pastors and church leaders, we can quickly mess things up! Am I right? I know this has been so true in my own life and ministry; Mistakes and poor choices I’ve made as a leader as a result of following my own lead instead of the Lord’s. We must crave a constant, humble dependence that keeps our eyes focused on God. Let our constant plea be: “Oh Lord! Don’t let me take one wrong step. Let me be in line with you and keep in step with your Spirit.”
2. Pray for courage and boldness to go where the Lord leads.
As the Lord leads us, as the Lord leads our congregations, we need to pray for courage and boldness. Some of us need to grow in our courage as leaders. (Psalm 31:24) We need to grow in our boldness because ministry can be scary. People can be “scary” and our fear of them can cause us to become overly timid in our leadership. Yet, the Lord has called to us to lead and to pastor by His grace and in His power. Because of this, we pray for courage and we pray for boldness to go where the Lord is leading, even in the face of criticism and opposition.
3. Pray for humility before the Lord and people, prioritizing the raising up of other leaders.
Humility must be our constant posture in prayer before God. Our egos must be kept in check. We must constantly pray that our pride would not get in the way of the Lord’s work in our lives and in our churches… That we would stay humble before the Lord. (James 4:10) Ask God daily, “Make me humble before your people.”
I think one of the ways that we practice this kind of humility is through the prioritization of praying for God to raise up other leaders. It’s one thing to pray for humility. It is another to lead from a place of humility alongside others. One of the action steps we must take to help see this become a reality is to raise up others to lead alongside you. This is one of many reasons why a plurality of pastor-elders is so critical to our leadership effectiveness in the local church. So we pray: “Lord, raise up other leaders. Raise up others who can help shepherd this church. It’s not all about me. I don’t want to make this all about me. This church will never get to be as healthy as you want it to be if it’s just me trying to do this thing. So God, please raise up leaders who can shepherd the flock.”
Tomorrow we will look at the next 3 areas of prayer we must focus on in our lives and ministries.