I think most of us as Christians recognize that, in general, we ought to pray for our pastors. Yet I wonder if any of us have really been gripped with a sense of how desperately they need and rely on our prayers.
I began thinking about this while looking through a booklet called “A Plea to Pray for Pastors,” by Gardiner Spring. Spring was a pastor in New York City from 1810 until his death in 1873. His thoughts are so insightful I thought I would sort of blog through this book from time to time, to help us all remember how critical prayer is for the well-being of our pastors, our church, and our community.
Spring begins by saying,
Such is the importance of the Christian ministry, that we are constrained to entreat for it one particular favor. It is a request in which we feel a very deep personal concern, Pray for us! “Pray for us”, pleads the Apostle in I Thessalonians 5:25; pray for us is the hearty response from every Christian pulpit in the land, and in the wide world.
I wonder if we’ve ever really considered the deep pressure that is on Josh, as well as the other elders and elders-in-training. Have you ever considered that at our church (as with any church), there is rarely a time when every member of the church is happy and satisfied? Sadly, we all tend to be grumbling sheep at times. That means that our pastors have to deal with conflict on a weekly basis. I am thankful that we have (so far) only seen a little of this at Crew, but there have been seasons of more intense conflict.
Not only do our pastors have to deal with conflict, but they must carefully balance how they respond to such conflict. They must respond gently, while being careful not to compromise their Scriptural convictions. Depending on the individual and the situation, they must decide whether an appropriate response to the conflict is gentle instruction or firm but loving rebuke.
Besides this particular pressure, consider the need our pastors have for grace as ministers of the gospel. They rely of the power of God for all that they do in the name of ministry. From the sermons,to planning the worship service, to meeting with individuals for evangelism and discipleship, to planning the direction of the church’s outreach and ministry–every element of this should be done bathed in prayer, relying on God for His direction and His enablement.
The apostle Paul certainly felt the weight of this burden. That’s why he said in 2 Corinthians 11:28, “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” And this is why he so regularly solicited the prayers of the people to whom he ministered. Listen again to the words of Gardiner Spring:
If the prayers of good men were entreated by such a man as Paul; and if, with his giant intellect, his eminent spirituality, and his intimate communion with God and things unseen, this holy man needed this encouragement and impulse in his work, who will not say “Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified!” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
If the “spiritual giant” Paul relied on the prayers of his people, certainly the pastors of Crew need your prayers every bit as much. Partner with your elders at Crew. As Moses relied on the support of others to hold up his arms when he lacked strength (Exodus 17:8-13), so the elders of Crew rely on your prayers when they lack strength. A friend of mine, who had previously been a pastor, once told me that he didn’t lament the promotion God had given: he was once a preacher, but now he had been promoted to being a “pray-er”.
Let’s commit together to see what God will do if we uphold our leaders in prayer! I encourage you: set aside some time today to pray for your leaders.