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The 20 Ways to Pray series covers family because our families are, for most of us, the most important people in our lives. If you’re a believer and attend church regularly, however, another important person you need to pray for is your pastor. Below is a list to start with of 20 ways to pray for your pastor.
Praying for your pastor is one of the best things you can do for him and your church. He is the leader that the Lord has put into that ministry and it is his vision that determines the direction and the reach of your church. It’s easy to forget that prayer is the most powerful tool in your spiritual armory. Use that weapon on behalf of your pastor and church.
This list was written with senior pastors in mind. However, it can be adapted to be used in praying for other leaders in the church, both paid or unpaid, as well as leaders of ministries other than churches. I have put together a separate list for praying for missionaries.
Pray for Your Pastor – Suggestions for Using the List
I first created all the 20 ways to pray lists for myself. I wanted my prayer life to move beyond the shallow standard prayers I turned to constantly. And my desire was that my prayers would be firmly grounded in God’s Word. My personal habit is to pray for my church and pastor (& staff) weekly on Fridays, but additionally as needed for special reasons.
Below are some ideas for how you could use this list:
- Choose one day each week to pray over 5 items on the list; in one month you will cover the entire list.
- Pray over one item on the list each day. The original plan for the 20 ways to pray series was to create a monthly prayer list that had room for sick days, emergencies, and grace. You would cover the entire list in one month (more or less) following this plan.
- Combine this list with the 20 ways to pray for your church list and use it as a congregation in your weekly service or weekly bulletin for pray points for the congregation.
- Choose 2 items on the list and have a period of intense prayer for those items over the course of one week. Allow extra time to pray through, pray hard, and pray intensely. Look up additional verses or passages to include in your prayer time and use them to pray Scripture for your pastor. This method will take 10 weeks to complete.
- Have a monthly prayer meeting that focuses on your church, pastor, and missionaries & ministries you partner with. Use this list along with the lists on praying for your church and for missionaries your church supports. This would be a great addition to the personal prayer habits mentioned above.
I chose the one-day-a-week model because that works best for me. The weekly schedule I follow (more or less) is to pray for missionaries and other ministries on Mondays, my business, career, and/or education on Tuesdays, my extended family & friends on Wednesdays, my church and pastor on Thursdays, and my nation, government, and social/political/global concerns on Fridays. Saturdays are a catch-all, catch-up, and pressing needs day. Sunday is for worship.
This is my prayer plan (you can learn more about it with Inspired by Grace Prayer Journal), but there is no right or wrong way to pray. Well, except not praying,l of course! So do what works best for you. But having a plan helps you to hold yourself accountable for praying faithfully. At least, that’s what it does for me. Now, on to the list.
20 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor – Part 1
- Pray for spiritual protection. Church leaders are at the forefront of the battle against darkness. Therefore, they need protection from the darts and arrows of the enemy. Psalm 91:9-10
- Pray for a strong marriage. A strong marriage is essential for a pastor to be focused on the work of the church. His wife needs to be a strong supporter of his ministry and a prayer warrior for him. Ephesians 5:23-33
- Pray for his children. If the enemy cannot get a foothold in a servant’s marriage, he will often go after the children. The children of ministry workers are already under a microscope, so every little fault may seem magnified. Pray that his children will be a blessing and a joy, know Christ personally as Savior, and not fall away from the Truth. 1 Timothy 3:4-5
- Pray for his vision for ministry. A ministry needs a strong leader with a vision for where the Lord wants that ministry or church to go, what He wants it to do, and how He wants it to look. A pastor must be connected to the Spirit to discern the direction the Lord is taking the church. Proverbs 29:18
- Pray he will be free from the sins of greed and covetousness. Wanting more for the church is not necessarily a sin. However, wanting a bigger church, higher attendance, or a larger paycheck could be a symptom of coveting a ministry that God has not given him. He must always remember that a bigger church is only important if lives are changed for Jesus’ glory and honor. Exodus 20:17; Psalm 119:36
- Pray for fruit that remains. This may seem contradictory to the previous point, but it isn’t. Instead of focusing on numbers, a passion for fruit that remains always focuses on people, not numbers. Pray that your pastor will have that passion for people. John 15:1-5, 16
- Pray for his prayer life. A ministry will only rise as high as the prayer life of its leaders. Pray that God will give him a special sensitivity to and power in prayer. Colossians 1:9-11
- Pray for his spiritual growth. It is easy to think that anyone who has been to Bible college, seminary, or is ordained doesn’t need to grow anymore. That is an appealing trap, but a trap nonetheless. Everyone who is a believer needs to be constantly growing in their faith through personal time in the Word, prayer time, fasting, retreats, and other spiritual disciplines. 2 Timothy 2:15
- Pray for a strong character: courage, purity, faithfulness, and love for others are just a few of the character traits all believers, but especially pastors, should exhibit. 2 Timothy 2:24-26
- Pray for a circle of support. Pray that he will be surrounded by those older and wiser in the ministry who can be a sounding board, provide a wealth of experience, and cover him with prayer. Every leader should have a circle of believers who consistently support, encourage, and pray for him. Acts 15:2-6; 1 Peter 5:1-5
20 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor – Part 2
- Pray for opportunities to share the gospel message, and the wisdom and grace to share it in the right manner. Being in full-time ministry often provides a ready opening to share the faith with others, including complete strangers. An innocent question such as “What do you do?” can be the opening to a gospel conversation. Pray he’ll have many opportunities, recognize them when they come, and seize them for God’s glory. While you’re at it, pray the same for yourself! 2 Timothy 4:5
- Pray for his physical health. Pastors can easily get run down by the demands of ministry, so pray for him to be sustained through whatever the Lord brings to him. Pray also for his voice, as a weak voice is a particular problem for preachers. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
- Pray for unity among the church leadership, whether paid or unpaid. Division can start anywhere, and has torn multitudes of churches apart. Unity among the leadership can help prevent the spread of dissatisfaction that leads to division. 1 Corinthians 1:10
- Pray for friendship. A pastor can often feel lonely in the ministry, even surrounded by many people. Pray God will provide him with true and faithful companions. Proverbs 27:17
- Pray for unity across denominational lines in the community as a witness for Christ. This does not mean your pastor should be watering down the message of the Gospel for the sake of unity. But in communities of almost any size, often more than one Gospel-focused church exists. Unity among those leaders is important. Philippians 1:8
- Pray for unity across racial and ethnic lines. Even more important in our culture is unity across racial and ethnic lines. This is sorely needed in our culture. Pray that your pastor will be sensitive to this issue and look for ways to build a church where everyone feels welcome, no matter there skin tone or ethnicity. Galatians 3:28
- Pray for sensitivity to the plight of the poor around the world. This sensitivity should be readily seen through his preaching and the ministries your church supports. God is clear in His Word that the poor are to be the recipients of the love of God extended through the church. James 2:1-17
- Pray for wisdom in determining what ministries, local and global, the church will support. This support could be financial, visiting and participating in special projects, or some other means. Whatever it is, a healthy church should be supporting ministries and missionaries outside their own congregation. Romans 15:25-27
- Pray for the financial needs of the ministry to which he is called. Too many pastors must use precious time and energy working ‘secular’ jobs, ‘encouraging’ believers to give as the Lord directs, or trying to determine where to cut corners because funds are not coming in. Pray that your pastor will not have this burden on top of his other responsibilities, but that the church will be full of ‘cheerful givers.’ 2 Corinthians 9:7
- Pray for a spirit of worship. Pastors need time and space to recharge their spiritual batteries, and Sunday is not the time or place. Pray that he will have a protected space every week to worship the Lord and be rejuvenated in his walk with Christ. Philippians 3:3
I hope this series of 20 Ways to Pray is blessing you and encouraging you to become a more persistent and consistent prayer warrior. I encourage you to share these prayer lists with others. If there is a special topic you’d like to see covered, let me know. Below are links to the other posts in this series.
- 20 Ways to Pray for Your Husband
- 20 Ways to Pray for Your Wife
- 20 Ways to Pray for Your Children
- 20 Ways to Pray for Your Adult Children
- 20 Ways to Pray for Your Church
- 20 Ways to Pray for Missionaries
- 20 Ways to Pray for the Lost
- 20 Ways to Pray for Your Country
- 20 Ways to Pray for Yourself