Here is a plan for prayer for a pastor. When I have made this a priority my ministry has flourished; when I forget or place it on the back burner, I am stressed and inefficient and ineffective! We must see prayer as the real, hard work of our ministry that unleashes the power of God in us and through us unto others. We must take a “three-prong” attack position to guard and activate the pastor.
- Prayer Attack 1: The pastor’s daily prayer and devotional life must be rich and growing.
We must make prayer a priority. Rearrange schedules, make the time, have others you trust keep you accountable, do what it takes to be in prayer and do so with joy, gratitude, and sincerity. Embrace and apply the other disciplines of the Christian faith and life such as fasting and mediation. Yes, there are dry spells, but the effort must be there as well as the passion. Our communication with our Lord Jesus Christ is based on the giving of everything and ourselves, because we see that he has first done so to us. We serve Him. He is our Lord, and we need to live, work, and respond accordingly. So, if the pastor is writing a sermon, he or she must pray before doing the research and writing, during the writing, and even while giving it. And this template applies to all we say and do.
- Prayer Attack 2: Establish lay prayer teams. Their primary task is to keep the pastor in prayer on a continual daily basis and meet at least once a week as a team. Again, not popcorn prayers but surrendered, deep pursuits before our holy God.
- Attack 3: Have teams pray for specific ministries in which the pastor is involved, as we already discussed. I encourage you to have different prayer teams so not just the same people are doing it and perhaps becoming burned out.
We are facing a war, all out attacks, conflicts, and the spread of malicious diseases coming to outflank us, many from our own church. We will lose because we are too busy fighting the good fight. Do not allow the church to put so many demands on you that you can not do what is important. Sit down with your elders and key people and explain to them what is most important in a powerful ministry and that you need their help to do it. Teach them that prayer is the highest call and duty and you need their prayers and partnership to make this work. If we are too busy or feel it is not important or are embarrassed, then Satan and manipulative people with skewed agendas will run you over and out. We must have the upper hand and the higher ground for a strong defense and offense. And, that means to be in His Word, be guided by the Holy Spirit, and be in effectual and continual prayer. We need to have vitality in our ministry and not aridness. What we need is Christ; what Christ wants is us.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
Prayer is something you do not take breaks from, as you do not take breaks from oxygen, food, and water. Prayer is our lifeline and nutrient center in which we can grow and flourish. If we become thoughtless and careless with our prayer life, we will be careless and thoughtless to those around us. Our spiritual priorities are our life priorities. Do not neglect your prayer just as our Lord does not neglect us. And, make sure your communication with Him is two-way; be a listener too. Let us go before His presence, with the aspects we talked about, with confidence and the authority He gives us. Then, we can be the people of His work and will, and with gratitude and praise.
Never leave your house to be in God’s house without feeding your soul!
Remember: Amen is not the end or the close of a prayer; it rather means “so be it,” that we apply it to our life and not just say it. Amen is not an end to what we do and say, but our beginning to apply God’s truth to our lives with vigilance.
“Real ministry is made in the closet of prayer.” E. M. Bounds
(c) Rev. R.J. Krejcir Ph.D. 1987, 1998, 2007 excerpt from the upcoming book ‘Pew Sitting’ www.intothyword.org