Once upon a time, Charles Spurgeon was asked what he thought was the secret to his great influence. To answer, he did not rattle off a complex methodology or quote Winston Churchill (yes… I know Churchill wasn’t alive at the time). Rather, he said, “My people pray for me” (John Piper, On Protecting the Church). Maybe this answer seems strange to you because you think of your pastor as the person in the church who needs prayer the least due to his high level of holiness or maybe this statement is convicting to you because you take very little time to pray for your pastor at all. Either way, we need to take action.
Think about your pastor’s job for a minute. Contrary to what some seem to think, pastors work more than one day a week. In fact, if your pastor is a faithful one, then he probably works at least five days each week and is on call the rest of the time. Also, by the mouth of God, your pastor is held to a high standard as someone who cares for God’s people. James tells us teachers will incur a stricter judgment (3:1) and the author of Hebrews says that the leaders in your church will have to give an account of how they watched over your souls (13:17). Furthermore, your pastor has the sobering and difficult job of accurately preaching the Word of God each week so that you can understand and apply it. This is not to mention that your pastor is a sinner too who has to battle temptation from Satan, the world, and his own flesh. Finally, your pastor, by virtue of his office, is naturally going to be a lightning rod for criticism and complaints. Many of us slip into the mindset that the pastor works for us, so like any caring employer, we let him know what needs to change… but perhaps with a little more of that Christian sweetness we’re so good at sprinkling into our words. =)
If your pastor is anything like mine then his job is hard, but he loves it because he loves God and God’s people. However, he is a man and he’s not perfect… and in a very real sense he is responsible for the souls of you and the rest of your congregation. Every time someone is going in for surgery we pray something like, “Lord give wisdom and skill to the doctor as he performs this task”. But how often do we pray something similar for our pastors before they step into the pulpit to preach the Word? It may seem like surgery is of more importance, but I would argue that unpacking the words of God with precision and care so that God’s people can grow to be more like Jesus exceeds it. We won’t keep these bodies forever, but we will keep thee souls, so pray for your pastor! Do it this weekend before Sunday and encourage others to do the same.