Thursday, July 14, 2005

For Your Prayer Shield

Pray For Your Pastor

"Satan has always attacked leaders. He has grabbed hold of Zech. 13:7 which states, 'Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.' In congregation after congregation, the accuser has come against a pastor (shepherd), and the result has been a scattered flock. It's tragic how many Christians allow the enemy to use them to achieve his aim of discrediting and discouraging Christian leaders. The attacks often focus on pastors, but they are by no means limited to them… It is time for a militant church to stand up against - not participate in - the lies and schemes of the enemy in this regard."
David Butts, National Prayer Committee Chairman

Dear Intercessors,
It is so important with today's challenges and with increased difficulties in the world that we surround pastors and ministry leaders and their families with constant prayer. It is hard to be a pastor in the church today. Often a leader’s authority is challenged and criticized. A pastor may struggle with low self-esteem and with being compared with other well-known leaders. He may find it hard to achieve what is best for the church because of lack of commitment in his congregation. A pastor today has to try to lead his church in the midst of constant change in the world. Families are under spiritual attack and his own family may be personally struggling. It is easy to get discouraged, relationships may be difficult, and a pastor’s own needs might go unmet.
Prayer for pastors is vital because Satan brings the greatest attack against those in spiritual leadership. Pastors face daily struggles just like everyone else. Some struggle in their marriages and even with pornography. Leadership magazine in December 2001 reported that 37% of pastors say cyber porn is a current struggle, and 4 out of 10 pastors have visited a porn site. The Institute of Church Growth at Fuller Seminary conducted a survey of pastors in 1991, and these were the results: 75% reported a personal stress related crisis in their ministry, 90% work more than 46 hours a week, 80% felt the ministry has affected their families negatively, 90% felt inadequately trained for the demands of the job, 70% did not have a close friend, and 70% said that they now had lower self-esteem than when they started. We must begin to realize just how intense the warfare is against pastors worldwide. Just as Moses’ arms needed to be held up in battle, our leaders need us to uphold them in intercession. We must pray for our pastors!

Ways to Help your Pastor

“There has never been a time in our nation when it has been harder to pastor a church."

· Pray for any problems you see rather than criticize - I heard a well-known intercessor say that when we see a problem, instead of criticizing or gossiping about it, we need to pray what we want to see happen until it rises up to that level.

· Attend the prayer meetings in your church - We all need to participate in corporate prayer whenever possible. For example, our church has many prayer meetings; for our nation, our missionaries, for Turkey, for the youth, etc. It would be so easy for each of us to go to at least one of these prayer meetings.

· Start a 24-hour prayer chain in your church - This is an excellent way to uphold in prayer the needs of your pastor, leadership staff, and missionaries. Pray for a spirit of prayer to permeate your church.

· Encourage others in your church to pray for your pastor - It is time well spent that will bring blessing to your church in so many ways.

· Read the book Prayer Shield by C. Peter Wagner - It tells you how to intercede for pastors, Christian leaders and others on the spiritual frontlines. This book covers topics such as the power of personal prayer partners, why pastors need intercession, secrets of pastors' prayer lives, recruiting prayer partners, maintaining your intercessors, etc.

· Be submissive to your pastoral leadership - You want to be a joy to them and not a burden as they keep watch over you.

“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17).

How to Pray for Pastors

“To what extent does praying for the preacher help preaching? It helps him personally and officially. It helps him to maintain a righteous life; it helps him in preparing his message; and it helps the Word he preaches to run to its appointed goal, unhindered and unhampered. A praying church creates a spiritual atmosphere most favorable to preaching… It renders preaching an easy task; it enables the Word to run quickly and without friction, propelled by the warmth of souls engaged in prayer.” E. M. Bounds

Pray for their intimacy with God - Pray for your pastor to walk in holiness and for God to give him spiritual revelation.
Pray for their preaching and teaching - Pray for anointed messages and that they would preach with boldness and courage.
Pray for their leadership - Pray for favor with others in leadership and that God will show them how to lead your church. Pray that people would follow their leadership enthusiastically.
Pray for their example and Godly wisdom - Pray that they would be good examples in speech, life, love, faith, and purity (I Timothy 4:12). Pray for increased vision, wisdom, and guidance.
Pray for their health - Pray for their physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. Pray that God will sustain them with His strength. Leadership carries enormous demands.
Pray for their protection - Pray for protection from Satan’s temptations, deception, discouragement, etc.
Pray for their family life - Pray for your pastor to have quality time with his wife and children. Wives and children are often under attack and need prayer.
Pray for your pastor’s wife - Pray for her intimacy with the Lord, quality relationships where she can share her own struggles and joys, her own sense of calling and confidence in it, her balance between family needs and ministry, and that she may be encouraged in heart. Her job is not easy, and she needs your prayers.

“As we pray for pastors, evangelists, missionaries and denominational leaders, we are like telephone poles. We are like the structure that accommodate the electric wires, making it possible for the power of God to be distributed around the world at just the right time, in just the right way, that God’s will might be done.” J.B. London Jr.

Together in the Harvest, Debbie Przybylski, Intercessors Arise

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