It’s no secret that pastors have a difficult job. As those whom God has appointed to care for his people, pastors are called to share in the lives of those whom they serve – both in the highs and the lows. It is a difficult calling which often involves carrying the griefs, burdens, and pains of church members. Add to that the difficulties of preparing weekly messages, making difficult leadership decisions, and enduring painful accusations from church members, and it’s no wonder that so many pastors feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
Fortunately, shepherds also have the privilege of resting in the prayers of their flock. I cannot tell you how much encouragement and reassurance it brings to pastors when we know we are being prayed for. We know that the prayers of the righteous have great power (James 5:16), and we can feel our spiritual strength being renewed each day as prayers go before us on our behalf. If Jesus asked for prayer (Matthew 26:36ff), if the Apostles regularly asked for prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:25, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, Hebrews 13:18), you can be sure your pastors need prayer as well.
However, I think many Christians struggle to know what to pray for their pastors. While it is good to specific prayers during particular circumstances, what are ongoing prayers you can pray for your pastor no matter the season or circumstance? Below are Five C’s you can pray for your pastors and their ministry. I have been praying these for our senior and youth pastors now for some time, and I have seen God be faithful to these prayers. As you pray these C’s for your own pastors, pray also that God would grow you in each of these areas as well. Continue Reading
The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-14, Luke 11:2-4) is one of the most significant texts in the Bible for understanding the Christian life. It has been understood as the foundational text on prayer for God’s people for over 2000 years. We know from the Didache, an early first-century Christian document, that Christians were instructed to pray the Lord’s Prayer regularly. Nearly every major Christian tradition has emphasized the teaching of the Lord’s Prayer, alongside the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the sacraments.
My Reformed and Presbyterian tradition has so emphasized the Lord’s Prayer that the final sections of both our Shorter and Larger catechisms consist of very meaningful expositions of this text. This prayer is similarly emphasized in Luther’s catechisms, the Book of Common Prayer, and so on.
Given how significant this prayer has been for God’s people for nearly two millennia, we would do well to examine our own lives to determine how much we have been shaped (if at all) by this prayer that our Lord taught us to pray.
Can you earnestly say that you have taken the teaching of this prayer seriously? Has it shaped you? Does it regularly inform the substance and content of your prayers?
Can you earnestly say that you have taken the teaching of this prayer seriously? Has it shaped you? Does it regularly inform the substance and content of your prayers? Continue Reading
When I was a child, I prayed like this: “God, if you answer this prayer in the way that I want, I promise I will do whatever you want.” Most of the time, my prayers were over something petty, such as getting over an upset stomach. But it wasn’t so much as what I was praying for that was the problem, it was the basis for which I thought I would be heard. Prayer was a one-way street where I could somehow manipulate God into giving me what I wanted if I said or did the right thing.
As adults, I’m sure few of us are as naïve to pray prayers like I did as a child. Surely we know that a vow to God to “never sin again” or “do whatever you ask” if he answers us is an empty prayer at best and self-delusion at worst. And yet I think we often fall into similar errors of basing the effectiveness of our prayer on ourselves. When we don’t think we have been heard, or that our prayers have not been answered to our liking, we are prone to look inward with a posture of defeat. If only we had done or said more, perhaps God would have heard and answered our prayer. Continue Reading
I walked onto my first shift in the hospital with a sense of fearful confidence. My blue shirt was freshly ironed, and my “New Volunteer” badge was hanging from my neck. It felt like a safety net in case anything went wrong.
Just days before, I had received my assignment: Child Life Services, Pediatric Oncology and Hematology. Up to that point, being around children who were wrestling to get free from death was only a distant idea. I’ve watched “Scrubs” 3 or 4 times over, but that can only prepare you so much. There are moments in a person’s life that shape and define them. I did not know that day I would experience one of those moments. Continue Reading