Nine Ways to Pray for Church Leaders
This weekend we continue our six week series I Am A Covenant Partner, exploring what it means to be a member of the local church. As we have done so, I have been deeply encouraged by conversations following sermons and with those of you who are reading the book that inspired the series, I Am A Church Member.
On Sunday, August 21st we engage themes from the fourth chapter, I Will Pray for My Church Leaders. Instead of sharing my own thoughts on how best you could pray for me, the staff, elders, deacons and leaders of our church family, I thought I’d share another’s input on the matter. So, the remainder of this Pastor’s Note is from author Chuck Lawless (click here for the full post).
I’ll just write one last thing: Thank you that you “pray without ceasing” for the leaders of Good Shepherd! Here’s more from Chuck:
In the late 1850s, a global spiritual awakening began when one man in New York City established a noonday prayer meeting and called the city to prayer. Indeed, most awakenings have begun with a few praying people who invite others to join them.
With that historical backdrop in mind, I wonder what might happen if congregations begin to pray the following prayers for church leaders. Would you pray these prayers for church leaders today, and then invite others in your congregation to join you?
1. Pray they will keep their eyes on God. King Jehoshaphat faced three combined enemy armies, and he did not know what to do - except to lock his eyes on God. That’s the answer any time we have no clue about next steps. (2nd Chronicles 20.12)
2. Pray they will not take a step apart from God’s leading. Moses prayed this prayer when God would send only an angel to lead His people after their fiasco with the golden calf. He would rather the people not start the journey if God Himself were not leading them. (Exodus 33.15)
3. Pray they will beware of relying on their own strength. David, who knew the Lord is the one who fights for him (1st Samuel 17.47), trusted in his own might when he took a census of the Hebrew armies. Recognizing his sin, he prayed a prayer most leaders need to pray at some point. (2nd Samuel 24.10)
4. Pray they will be wise in leading God’s people. When Solomon might have asked for much more, he instead asked God to give him a “listening heart” as he governed the people of God. All of us who lead congregations need this wisdom. (1st Kings 3.9)
5. Pray they will weep over the sin and failures of God’s people. The best shepherds are those who genuinely grieve the spiritual brokenness of the people they lead. Like Nehemiah when he heard about the damaged walls of Jerusalem, they are themselves broken when they see the results of spiritual decline. (Nehemiah 1.4)
6. Pray they will know when to push away from the crowds to pray. Ministry is time-consuming, and needs are ever before us. Nevertheless, leaders must have time alone with God to be renewed for the work - just as Jesus did. (Luke 5.15-16)
7. Pray they will walk worthy of their calling. If we pray more for church leaders today, it’s likely fewer will fall tomorrow. We must pray they walk in obedience and bear fruit, just as Paul prayed for the Colossian believers. (Colossians 1.9-10)
8. Pray they will speak the gospel boldly. Paul wrote from a prison cell – his punishment for preaching the Word - but still he sought prayer support to continue his evangelizing. If Paul needed such prayer, surely church leaders do today. (Ephesians 6.19)
9. Pray they will finish well. Those church leaders who finish well PLAN to do so; that is, they choose from the beginning to stand against the devil and glorify God. Pray that your church leaders can one day echo these words of the Apostle Paul. (2nd Timothy 4.7).