What Can You do for Your Pastor?
by Eddie Byun
God calls the church to pray for her leaders. The church has a vital role to play in the strengthening and supporting of its pastors through prayer. Paul understood the importance of this intercessory relationship, so he frequently asked the churches to pray for him. One example of this is found in Romans 15:30 (NIV): “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me” (emphasis mine). Paul is asking for the church in Rome to pray for a successful journey for his ministry in Jerusalem. The basis of our prayers is to be grounded in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access to the Father in heaven, through prayer, because of what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus made a way for us to have access and adoption into the arms of our Father in heaven.
What distinguishes Christian praying from all other praying is that we are not trusting in our work of prayer, but we are trusting in the work of Christ to be the means through which we can gain access to the Father. That is why we pray in Jesus’ name. It is through Jesus that our prayers are heard, and it is by his grace that our prayers are answered.
Then Paul says in Romans 15:30, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit” (emphasis mine). Another reason we pray is out of love for one another. For the Christian life, love is to be the motive for everything we do. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). One of the best ways to love each other is by praying for each other. And one of the best ways to love your pastors is by praying for them.
So true Christian prayer is grounded in the work of Christ, motivated by the love that comes through the Spirit. Paul finishes off the passage in Romans 15:30 saying, “to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” This phrase “join me in my struggle,” or as the English Standard Version says, “strive together,” carries with it the idea of wrestling, as when Jacob wrestled with God at Bethel in Genesis 32. Yes, sometimes prayer is a time to rest, but other times, prayer is a time to wrestle.
Paul also reminds Timothy that we must pray for our leadership: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, emphasis mine). He urges Timothy to lift up supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving for all, especially for our leaders.
Pray for their leadership because how you bless your leaders in prayer will be directly connected to how you are blessed through their leadership. There is a direct correlation between how we bless our leaders in prayer and how God will bless you through their leadership. So he says, “I urge you! Pray for them!”
—From the Introduction, Praying for Your Pastor
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.