Revive Our Hearts Podcast

They Need Your Prayers

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The apostle Paul, who founded so many of the early New Testament churches—he needed prayer. If he needed prayer, do you think your pastor can pastor successfully without your prayers?

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, October 6th.

When is the last time you prayed for your pastor? Today we’ll find out why it’s such an important thing to do. Here’s Nancy, continuing in a series called Follow the Leaders.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I want to talk today about what I think may be the most important way that you can minister encouragement and grace and appreciation to your pastor. And focusing as we come up on Pastors’ Appreciation Month, how we can honor those who lead us spiritually, how we can be a blessing to them, how we can lift up their hands and support them and encourage them.

We ought to be their cheerleaders. Their jobs are hard. To lead the flock of God today is a huge challenge. One of the great joys of my life is being a cheerleader for men of God who are pastors and spiritual leaders, lifting up their hands, and challenging the women who listen to Revive Our Hearts to say, “How can we be an encouragement to these men of God who lead the flock spiritually?”

We’ve been talking about different ways that we can do that, but I don’t think there’s any way that’s any more important than what we’re talking about today. There are four words in 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 25 that summarize this principle. The apostle Paul said to the Thessalonians: “Brothers, pray for us.” Pray for us.

The apostle Paul, the one who had had visions of the throne room of God that were unspeakable, the one who’s given by God the responsibility and the inspiration for writing a major portion of our New Testament . . . the apostle Paul, who founded so many of the New Testament churches—he needed prayer. If he needed prayer, do you think your pastor can pastor successfully without your prayers?

Paul said, “Brothers, pray for us.” You read this numerous times throughout the New Testament, in the epistles particularly. Hebrews chapter 13 verse 18—we don’t know who the author is, but he says, “Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a good conscience in all things desiring to live honorably” (NKJV).

Our pastors, our spiritual leaders and their families need our prayers. They are human; they are weak; they are fallible; they are targets of the enemy. They experience some temptations that we don’t even relate to. They have feet of clay. They have weaknesses. They have blind spots. They’re human beings, and they need our prayers.

Now, in preparation for this series we did a little survey on our website of some of our listeners. We asked them questions about how they encourage and respond to their pastors and spiritual leaders, and one of the questions was about prayer.

I was not really surprised, but I was saddened to see that 42% of those who responded said that they seldom pray specifically for their pastor. Is it any wonder that we have some of the kinds of issues and problems that we do in our churches if we’re not praying people?

As you pray, first pray thanking God for the leaders He has put in your life. Thank God for these men. Thank God for their families. Thank God for these who have followed God’s calling, have made sacrifices in many cases to shepherd the flock of God.

Then pray faithfully for these men who are in positions of spiritual leadership over your life. Take initiative to find out how you can pray for your spiritual leaders. Ask your pastor’s wife, “How can I pray for you this week?” You might even do this on a regular basis. You might do this weekly. Take initiative to find out how you can pray.

Not only pray for them, but pray with them. I know that is a huge encouragement to me—the people who pray for me, the people who lift me up to the Lord and tell me they’re praying and stop and say, “Can I pray with you?” That ministers such grace to my heart. I need that. Your pastor needs that. Your church leaders need that. Spiritual leaders of your church need that.

We’ve prepared a little piece to give you some practical ways that you can pray for your pastor, some special prayer requests, and we’ll tell you more about how you can get that. But I want to just suggest some ways that you can pray for your pastor. Don’t try to write all these down because I’m going to give them to you quickly. And you will have other things that come to your mind.

Actually, one thing you could do is just pray for them the way you want to be prayed for yourself. Whatever your needs are, whatever you’re going through, chances are those in spiritual leadership go through similar issues. Pray for your pastor’s personal walk with God. Pray for his devotional life, for his time alone with God.

I know that’s something I need you to pray for me. If I get to the place where I’m just teaching content from the Word of God but I’m not meeting with the Lord on a daily basis to hear from Him, to be in His presence, sooner or later you’ll be able to tell that. So pray for that for me, but pray it for your spiritual leaders.

Pray that they will love God with all their heart and soul and strength and might, that they’ll love God more than they love the ministry. That’s something again I need you to pray for me.

Pray for their personal character and integrity. Pray that they will be morally pure. Pray for protection from moral temptation. You say, “My pastor doesn’t get tempted to have immoral thoughts.” I guarantee you he does. I don’t care how godly he is, how old he is, how mature he is. I guarantee you that if he is a man, he has moral temptation. He’s tempted to lust; he’s tempted to think improperly about women. And I guarantee you that he’s put in situations where he could be unfaithful to his wife. Pray that God will guard his heart.

So many of these men who fall morally and have to get out of the ministry, I just wonder: Were people praying for them? Were people lifting them up? How did they fall? How did they get into pride? How did they get so overwhelmed with discouragement that they had to quit the ministry? Who was lifting up their hands? Who was praying for them?

And I wonder sometimes if we don’t bear responsibility for these men who fall and who get out of the ministry. I’m not saying they’re not accountable. They are. But I wonder if we’ve created a climate where we’re adequately lifting up their hands and taking them to the throne of grace? “Brethren, pray for us,” Paul said.

Pray for his marriage. Pray for his wife. Pray for his wife. It’s a hard thing to be in the ministry and see your husband pour himself out on behalf of the congregation and individuals, late nights, early mornings. And then to see him get stabbed in the back by some of the very people that he brought to Christ or discipled or poured his life into is a hard thing for that wife; to see her husband criticized. Her temptation is to take up an offense. Pray that she won’t pick up on offenses. God doesn’t give the wife grace to deal with the husband’s offenses. She needs grace to trust her husband to the Lord. Pray for his wife.

Pray for their children, children growing up in ministry homes. I’ve seen some of those children grow up and love the ministry, but I’ve seen some children grow up in ministry homes and never want anything to do with the ministry. What did they get exposed to? What did they see? What pressures did they see on their dad? What did they see in the inner workings of church life that made them want to go as far away as they could from ministry? Pray for those children and for the pastor and his wife as they shepherd their own children.

Pray for divine anointing on his ministry. Pray for unction, for the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Listen, he can study 100 hours a week but it will be nothing; it will be chaff; it will be useless if the anointing and the power of the Holy Spirit isn’t on his ministry. You think your pastor’s preaching isn’t anointed? Are you praying for that?

Pray that he’ll have a shepherd’s heart, that he’ll love his people. Pray as he prepares messages. Pray for his schedule. Pray that he won’t give in to discouragement and pride. There are so many things that you can pray for your pastor. I hope that you’ll take advantage of getting this little piece that we’ve prepared for you with some other ways that you can pray for your pastor.

Gardiner Spring was a pastor, pastor to a church in New York City for 63 years in the 1800s. He wrote a message all those years ago that I think is profound and is profoundly needed in our generation. The message is called “A Plea to Pray for Pastors,” and here’s what he said in part:

“Let the thought sink deep into the heart of every church, that their minister will be such a minister as their prayers make him. . . .

“For who and what are the ministers themselves? Frail men, fallible, sinning men, exposed to every snare, to temptation in every form. And, from the post they occupy, they are an easier target for the fiery darts of the foe. . . .

“How perilous is the condition of that minister then, whose heart is not encouraged, whose hands are not strengthened, and who is not upheld by the prayers of his people! . . .

“It is at a fearful expense that ministers are ever allowed to enter the pulpit without being preceded, accompanied, and followed by the earnest prayers of the churches.”

Let me say that if you go to church and expect to get something out of your pastor’s message on Sunday morning without having stopped before the service to pray for him, then don’t be surprised when you don’t get any huge blessing. Pray.

He says, “It’s no marvel that the pulpit is so powerless and ministers so often disheartened when there are so few to hold up their hands. When the churches cease to pray for ministers, ministers will no longer be a blessing to the churches.” Pray for the pastors. Pray for the spiritual leaders. Paul said it: “Brothers, pray for us.”

Leslie Basham: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminding us how much our pastors need our prayers. We want to help you know how to pray for your pastor, and we want to give you a free prayer calendar. It’s called, Thirty-One Days of Praying for Your Pastor. This calendar will remind you to pray, and it will give you ideas so that you’re not just repeating the same thing over and over and over. It’s free when you call us at 1-800-569-5959.

Did you know that we are in Pastors’ Appreciation Month? During this time we hope you’ll pray for your pastor, and we hope you’ll give your pastor’s wife a gift. We’ve made it easy for you by creating the Pastor’s Wife’s Appreciation Packet. It includes a signed book from Nancy, a specially designed travel mug, gourmet coffee, and a purse calendar. Now when I said we’ve made it easy, I meant it because we’ll even include a gift bag, card, and tissue paper. You can see details at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow we’ll hear about a church member who has taken prayer for his pastor to a whole new level. Now let’s pray with Nancy.

Nancy: Father, in this moment we want to just lift up our hearts to you on behalf of our pastors, our spiritual leaders. Thank You, Lord, for these men of God who serve the flock of God, who followed Your calling, those who are this moment in their study preparing to minister the Word of God this coming weekend to Your flock.

We pray Your blessing on them, Lord. We pray Your covering. We pray Your protection over them. O God, I pray that they would be men of purity, that they would be men of sound character, that they would be men of sound biblical doctrine. I pray that You’ll give them wisdom in situations that they’re dealing with. They’re hard. Counseling situations they may be involved in today; they need Your wisdom Lord.

I pray for Your protection over them. Protect them from pride. Protect them from discouragement. Protect them from fiery darts of the Evil One. I pray for Your protection over their marriages, over their children. I pray, Lord, that these men would be anointed, faithful servants of You and of Your people. Lord, give us godly, faithful shepherds and leaders.

Thank You, Lord, for what You are doing through these men. Bless and touch our lives and help us to bless and encourage them with our faithful prayers. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries .

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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