We are continuing to blog our way through Gardiner Spring’s A Plea to Pray for Pastors. (Found an photograph of him online. There was a younger picture of him also, which might make him seem more relatable to a young church, but he was frowning and seemed meaner. Age can have a way of mellowing some out.) So, how about it? Have you been praying for all our pastors? If not, read no further; take a moment to pray for them, by name. Pray for needs you know they have.
Today we’ll look at the sort of flip side of praying for your pastors: the effect that praying for them has on us. I know that’s not why we pray–so we’ll get something out of the deal. But underscoring the effect of praying for pastors on the congregation as well as the pastors should help us see, by God’s design, that such prayer is needed and helpful for a healthy church.
Spring beautifully describes the transformative effect that praying for our pastors will have on our own souls:
Nothing gives a people so much interest in their minister, and interest of the best kind, as to pray for him. They will love him more, respect him more, attend more cheerfully and gain more profit from his ministry, the more they commend him to God in their prayers. They feel a deeper interest in his work the more they pray for him
I’ve heard it said of some church members that they ought to wear a wooden spoon around their necks– just so that everyone knows which church members are known for stirring things up. But think about this: Have you ever seen one of the church’s habitual trouble-makers who is also known for habitual, knee-burning, fervent and effectual prayer on behalf of their pastors? I’ve never seen it, and I can’t imagine it happening. (The exception: a pastor who has fallen into serious error. But I’m not talking about firm but loving attempts to correct; I’m talking about complaining about how things are done, or that they feel left out, or are not getting enough attention, etc.)
I don’t want to be a pot-stirrer, do you? Praying for your pastors will increase your love for them and your interest in their ministry.
One other quick thought for parents: Do your kids see your praying, regularly and passionately, for your pastors’ ministries and lives? I was roundly rebuked in this by Spring’s words:
(Praying church members’) children feel a deeper interest both in (the pastor) and in his preaching, when they regularly listen to supplications that affectionately commend him to the throne of the heavenly grace.
Again, we don’t pray just so our children will hear us; but if we’re regularly praying for our pastors, our model is more likely to become part of our kids’ habits as they grow.
Crew, let’s outdo so many other churches in praying for our pastors!