The pastor hung up the phone and exhaled a sigh of relief. It had been a long and difficult phone call with a valued member of his church, but by the end of the call, they were able to reconcile their differences and had a plan to move forward in a healthy, God honoring way. Or so he thought. The next few weeks brought more conflict with that church member and with others who sided with her.
Because of the hurtful things said about him, the pastor began to question himself. Was he a loving shepherd of this flock? Was he loved by his church? Did he have the leadership qualities needed to lead the church? Was he even sure that he was still called to be a pastor there? Was he still sure of his call at all?
Situations like this happen to pastors more often than many people realize. While some pastors are able to navigate the difficult waters and emerge from the storm with healthier churches and a stronger walk with the Lord, many do not.
This is why our pastors need our prayers. They need greater strength than they possess on their own. They need be reminded that they are approved by God. They need to know and embrace God’s mercy and grace when they are faced with their own failings. They need to be assured that the call God has placed on them is certain. They need to be reminded that God has a purpose for them: to proclaim Jesus and to point people past themselves and on to Christ.
When we lift up our pastors in prayer, we enable them to give glory to God as they realize and recognize it is only through His empowering that they are able to humbly serve the Lord and His people, the church.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul expresses this humility and dependence on God.
“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
— 1 Timothy 1:12-17
As you pray for pastors today, consider praying the following in addition to what God places on your heart:
—Thank you,, Father, for saving these men. Thank you for calling them out from a life apart from you and to a life of loving you through your Son, Jesus. May they know and appreciate your great grace and mercy. May they show that same grace and mercy as they shepherd. Keep them far from sin today. Protect them from the enemy’s attacks and strategies.
—Thank you, Lord, for calling these men to serve you. Remind them
today of that calling. Give them a fresh assurance that they are right where you want them. May they humbly acknowledge that you show your greatness through their weakness. Keep them far from pride today.
—Thank you, God, for letting these men lead your people. Use them today to show your great love and patience. As you have shown them love, let them love your people. Let them lead and love as shepherds of your flock. Help them to place the needs of others ahead of their own. Keep them far from selfishness and laziness today.
—Thank you, Father, for doing what only you can do in these men and in their ministries. Whether big or small, may they give you all the glory and honor today. Help them to see where you are at work, and lead them to glorify you. Let them not glory in the things the world celebrates, but let them celebrate what they see you doing in your people. Keep them from defeat and discouragement today.
— Ashley Evans
Pastor of 22nd Street Baptist Church in Tucson