Did you make any New Year resolutions? Most people make the same three every January: Lose weight, exercise more and save more money.
A resolution is a firm decision. I would like for you to consider another resolution for 2020. Would you make a firm decision today to pray for your pastor every week this year; maybe even every day? The advance of the Gospel depends on the health of our churches, and the health of our churches depends on the health of our shepherds.
Consider using 1 Peter 5:6-11 as a guide to pray for your pastor—or any pastor.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Father, deliver my pastor from a fear of obscurity. Your word says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time.” Much of his work is unseen, unappreciated and unrecognized; give him grace to labor on without the spotlight. Deliver him from the pride that seeks recognition. Fill him with faith that You are more than able to exalt him at the right time.
Father, lift any burden of anxiety from my pastor. Teach him to “cast all anxiety on You, because You care for him.” He carries burdens that he has picked up himself; ambitions, self-imposed expectations, the fear of failure and exposed inadequacies. He also carries the very real burdens of the shepherding task; the heartache, the grief, the loneliness and frustrations of the flock. He carries the leadership burden. He is burdened for the lost people in his community.
Hal Luccock used to say, “Sundays come at the preacher like telephone poles come at the train.” Lord, ease the creative burden from my pastor as he labors to feed the flock week by week. Give Your beloved servant rest.
Father, protect my pastor from our adversary, the devil. His labor is challenging enough on its own. Yet, we know that he performs his duty while under attack. Oh Lord, give him grace to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Make him ever alert, on guard. Give my pastor grace to stand and serve even while under attack.
Finally, Father, give my pastor the good sense to avoid isolation. He need not work alone. He has brothers who are experiencing the same battles with obscurity, anxiety and the adversary. Give him support from preacher friends. Give him the humility he needs to seek and accept their support.
One more thing: Ask God to raise up a Gideon’s army of godly, faithful pastors in 2020.