I have recently read different articles about praying for your pastor and they have been helpful. The longer I am in pastoral ministry, the more acutely aware I am of my own need to be prayed for. I am going to guess that for many pastors it is difficult to share prayer requests. Financial needs may seem like pleas for a larger salary. Family needs may cause some to wonder if the pastor’s family is ok. A pastor is not going to share specifics with a congregant about another congregant’s rebellion or sin.
In other words, there are most likely a lot of “unspoken” needs that your pastor has, but that he does not feel at liberty to share, and probably for good reason. While he may offer certain requests, there are many things which he will not share publicly.
So here are some reasons why you should pray for your pastor.
First, pray for him because he is a human being like you.
Pastors are not “super-Christians.” They are men who are just like everyone else. They have needs and limitations. They have trials and difficulties. They are tempted. They have to deal with their own selfish struggles. Your pastor is a real person. He just happens to be God’s chosen man to lead, feed, and shepherd you spiritually. This does not make him any better than you, just in a different function and role.
Second, pray for him because he struggles.
Pastors struggle in ways and for reasons that probably most of the congregation does not even realize. It could be over the person who refuses to listen to scriptural counsel. It could be because of the pressures of ministry. The apostle Paul was burdened with the cares of the churches, and every pastor is as well over the care of his congregation. The pastor struggles with time to spend studying the Word of God and preparing to feed the flock of God. Your pastor struggles with his own sinful flesh. He struggles with people who gripe and complain, just like Israel did with Moses. He struggles because of people who leave the church. He struggles because of people who are unfaithful in church attendance. He struggles because of personal financial needs. He struggles with the faithful raising of his children. He struggles because of a lack of opportunity, time, or resources to spend alone with his wife. The list could go on and on. The point is that pastors struggle with real life issues that everyone else does, and also the care and oversight of the church ministry.
Third, pray for him because he is not perfect.
No one is more aware of the pastor's faults, imperfections, and failures than the pastor is. It is easy for people to point out the imperfections in others while ignoring them or disregarding them in themselves. Your pastor is not perfect. No pastor, however popular he may be, is perfect. He is in the process of sanctification just like you are. This is all the more reason why you need to pray for him. He needs spiritual growth just like everyone else. Until the time of our glorification, pray for your pastor to grow in his life spiritually, personally, maritally, and in his leadership skills.
Fourth, pray for him because he is tired.
Every pastor should take vacation time throughout the year. And every pastor should take at least one day off each week. No man is a machine, capable of working tirelessly without a break. Your pastor is probably a very tired man. Though people may not realize it, studying the Word and preparing to preach is hard work. While it is not physically toiling, it is mentally and spiritually demanding. Dealing with the people of any church, no matter what the size, is emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining on a pastor. Add to this is the normal stresses and time-consuming details of home life and you have a tired pastor. Sleep is one of the most needful things for a pastor. And vacations are also very needful to help give some extra time of rest, relaxation, and time away from the pressures of ministry.
Fifth, pray for him because he is your pastor.
Every church needs a pastor. The pastor is there to guide and shepherd the flock of God. He is your primary spiritual leader and teacher. As such, why wouldn’t you pray for him? Do not pray against your pastor. Pray for God to shape him, mold him, and conform him into the image of Christ. Pray for God to keep him humble, to keep him pure, to keep him holy, and to keep him loving. Pray for him to love his wife like he ought, and to love his children like he ought. Pray for him to not grow weary in well doing, to fight the good fight of faith, and to persevere amidst the onslaught of attacks by the enemy.
These are only five simple reasons to pray for your pastor. He desperately needs the prayer and support of his church family. He does not need more complainers, more people who will be unfaithful, or more people who will slowly slip away from his leadership. He needs people who will lovingly pray for him, support him, and follow his leadership as he follows the Lord.