As most of you know, the month of October is Clergy Appreciation Month, and the 2nd Sunday of October has been designated Pastor Appreciation Sunday. Through the years, churches have found many creative ways to bless their pastoral staff in order to express appreciation for their ministry.
In addition to tangible written and verbal expressions of appreciation, one of the best ways you can bless your pastors is to assure them (frequently) that you are praying for them. Use Clergy Appreciation Month as your prompt to renew your commitment to pray for your pastor and staff regularly.
This pandemic and the resultant demand for changes in how we do ministry has placed an incredible strain on pastors. As they try to wisely navigate the restrictions placed on the church by government agencies, they often face criticism regardless of the choices the leaders of the church make. This, too, has placed an incredible strain on these servants of the Lord. Like the rest of us, they have also had to deal with various levels of isolation, which contributes to the strain they feel.
Here are some ways to pray for your pastors:
- Pray for a deeper intimacy with God – pray that during these times of isolation and extra stress, they will discover a deeper intimacy with the Lord and a greater love for Him.
- Pray for a greater sense of dependency on God – pray that these ever-changing, politically charged, pandemic-filled days will remind them of their (and our) desperate need to trust God rather than our own understanding.
- Pray for a greater longing for holiness – challenging times often force us to take a deep look at ourselves. We can’t respond to situations with the grace and understanding that we should if we are not becoming more and more like Jesus. Pray they will grow deeper in holiness.
- Pray for brokenness for lost people – in our times of scrambling to make certain the church is still functioning, it is easy to become distracted and lose sight of the lost. In this politically charged season, it is easy to see rioters and those “on the other side” as the enemy rather than seeing them as people who need Jesus. Pray for brokenness.
- Pray for a continued commitment to making disciples – the enemy would love to distract the Church from making disciples. Pray that pastors will not lose focus on what God has called us to do.
- Pray for wisdom – pray that God will lead your pastor to know how to address the social issues in our nation. Because these social issues are so politicized, pastors often feel that they are walking on thin ice as they attempt to lead the church in addressing issues like racism.
- Pray for marriages – the strain on pastors often brings strain to the home. Pray that God will guard their hearts and that He will strengthen the marriages of your pastors.
- Pray for unity – this is perhaps more of a prayer for the church. Pray that God will prevent the enemy from creating division over issues like the wearing of masks or whether the church meets in person or online.
- Pray for protection – pray that God will protect them from the attacks of the enemy. Pray that He will keep them from temptation, discouragement, and loneliness.
Your prayers can make the difference in their effectiveness, their spiritual well-being, and their emotional well-being. Your faithfulness in prayer is vital to the advancement of the Kingdom of God.