Do you pray for your pastor? What do you ask for?
Here’s what Paul requested prayer for:
Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak (Eph 6:19-20 NRSV).
Paul asked for two things.
First, he requested prayer for a message—a word to give the people. Think of how shepherds take care of their flock. Sometimes the flock needs to eat; sometimes they need to drink; sometimes they need to sleep, and sometimes they need to be protected from wolves. Likewise, different people at different seasons of life need to hear different messages from the preacher. Some need evangelizing. Some correction. Others need encouragement. Each of Paul’s epistles reflects that pastoral concern. He needed the right message at the right time. So does your pastor.
Second, Paul wanted boldness. It’s easy to become timid when you’re a preacher. You don’t want to rock the boat. You don’t want to lose your job. And you don’t want to be persecuted! That’s often what happens when you bring a bold message. Look where boldness got Paul—in chains! Preaching got Paul stoned and beaten and persecuted and abandoned by many of the churches he planted. Given that kind of pushback, it is easy for a preacher to become intimidated and to quiet down—to deliver a Hallmark-card message instead of a bold one. Paul was well aware of that temptation and asked for boldness. Pray that your pastor has boldness, too.
And remember, praying for your pastor is in your self-interest. The message you’re praying for him to receive is the message he’ll be delivering to you!