Persistent prayer has been and always will be the most important discipline and practice for the biblical pastor. In this blog series, I want to share twelve specific ways we as 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. Let's consider #4 - #6 today...
4. Pray we will not rely on our own strength, but trust in the Lord’s strength.
One of my favorite hymns is “I Need Thee Every Hour.” The chorus of this great hymn should be one that we sing every day to the Lord: “Lord I need Thee, oh I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee. O bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee.” If we ever move beyond a dependent posture of prayer, we’re in big trouble. We cannot rely on our own strength in ministry. We might be able to pull it off for a while, but ultimately this will lead us to discouragement, burn-out, or worse. When we are seeking to do ministry in our own strength, things go south fast. Our walk with the Lord suffers. Our marriages suffer. Our preaching is weak. Our leadership is poor. Our hearts are cold. So we pray, “Oh God, help me not to rely on my own strength but to be totally reliant on Your strength.”
5. Pray for love in leading God’s people.
What do our people need more than anything else from us? They need love. They need to know we care about them. They need to hear it, see it and feel it. Do they know we love them? Do we tell them? Do we show them? Do they feel it? Do they hear it? Do they see it? And so we pray, “Lord, fill me with Your love for Your people. Empower me to joyfully and sacrificially love your sons and daughters that are under my care.”
6. Pray for the health of our wives, marriages, and families.
If we aren’t doing the job we need to do at home to shepherd our wives and our families, then we’ve got no business shepherding the flock of God. That’s a harsh, hard truth. If we’re going to be the type of men, the leaders that God has called us to be in the church, we must understand the seriousness of this. “Lord, help me do whatever it takes to love my wife. To love my kids. To lead and shepherd my family well by your power. May this increasingly be my #1 priority and passion in life.”
May we commit ourselves to be prayer warriors for our families. We should pray specifically for our wives’ relationship with the Lord. There’s nothing worse for a pastor than when your wife is not growing in the Lord. It is hard on you. It is hard on your family. In contrast, when your wife is growing in the Lord, it gives you joy! This is what we want for her and for our family. We must do whatever it takes to help our wives and our kids grow closer to Jesus.
In my next post, we will look at the next 3 areas of prayer we must focus on in our lives and ministries.