1 Timothy 2:1-4 - 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. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
In my role as a denominational leader, I spend a lot of time with pastors. Though a handful of pastors have become famous and made a lot money in ministry, the vast majority of pastors will serve in obscurity and small churches that no one has ever heard of. Such pastors should be our heroes. We should be praying for them.
God reminds us of this in 1 Timothy 2:1-4. Christians have an obligation to pray for our leaders. Though this passage applies to all leaders, including political ones, we can easily apply its principles to pastors. Pastors are under a lot of pressure, especially if they serve bivocationally, which means working a second job in addition to serving the church. Bivocationalism has become very common in the last three decades and has added a lot of pressure to the already high-stress job of ministry. Pastors need supernatural power to deal with all this stress and the only way to get that power is through prayer. Pastors surely must be praying for themselves, but churches also need to earnestly pray for their pastors. I once heard a guest preacher say “If you want a better pastor, start praying earnestly for the pastor you already had to be filled with God’s power and you will have the best pastor ever.” Sounds like great advice to me!
Clearly prayer makes pastors’ lives better, but these verses also remind us of the benefits those who are not pastors receive when they pray for their pastors. When we lift leaders up in prayer, it helps us have peaceful, quiet, godly and dignified lives. How? When leaders have supernatural power they make Spirit-filled decisions. Spirit-filled decisions will always be better than ones made with mere human wisdom. When pastors make better decisions, churches are stronger. Stronger churches help us find peace, godliness and contentment. So if we need these things in our lives, let us pray for our pastors and watch how God uses the whole cycle of decision making by leaders to improve our own lives.
These verses remind us that praying for pastors is also pleasing to God. When God is pleased with us, He provides many blessings that we are unable to access when He is not pleased with us. Any believer with any depth of spiritual maturity wants to be blessed by God. Praying for our leaders is one way to access those blessings. These verses also remind us that when we pray for our pastors, more people will come to faith in Christ. That should be a key goal in every church. If our churches are not growing, instead of blaming our leaders, we should be praying for them. Our culture is in the midst of great transition and we need to pray for our leaders to have supernatural wisdom for how to share the Gospel in a culture has is increasingly rejecting it.
Every church wants a great pastor, but pastors can only be as great as their church lets them be and that has a lot to do with how much we pray for our pastors and then follow their Spirit-filled leadership. Let us pray hard and follow well and our pastors will be great!
Lord, fill our pastors with supernatural wisdom. Help them lead us well. Help us to follow well. Amen.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has served as a missionary, pastor and denominational leader in New England since 1993. He is happily married to his college sweetheart and enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren. He is the author of numerous books including “The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences.” You can find his complete list of books at: http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Terry-W.-Dorsett/e/B00405U4NY/