I’m a pastor at heart, and I pray I’m speaking for pastors today. Here are ten reasons you need to pray for your pastor today.
- Sunday is a tiring day. Sunday’s a long day because it never begins on Sunday. Pastors prepare all week, often with a focused preparation on Saturday night. Then, we’re “on the clock” all of Sunday – welcoming people, hearing prayer concerns, listening to complaints, answering questions, shaking hands, hugging necks, checking in with the worship team, responding to unexpected needs, etc., etc., etc. And all of that takes place before preaching the Word!
- Preaching is draining. Pastors work hard to prepare their message, and then we have the challenge of presenting the Word of God in a clear, concise, challenging way. It’s the Word of God we teach – and that truth carries with it a heaviness that’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there.
- No sermon is perfect. Pastors are often their worst critics. We are never fully pleased with what we said, and some of us let our mistakes and miscues bounce around in our head for days. Mondays sometimes become a day to beat ourselves up.
- Weekend strain on a pastor’s family is real. The pastor’s so busy on the weekend that he often has less time with his family. Meanwhile, they watch him find time to minister to others in the congregation – and they long for that attention. Monday’s regrets can be painful for the pastor.
- Somebody probably shared a burden yesterday. Sunday may be the only time when members have an opportunity to tell the pastor something face-to-face. A marriage has split up. A husband has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. A child has admitted that he’s gay. The burdens we hear about on Sunday can make Monday a painful day.
- Somebody may have complained yesterday. It happens, even while the pastor is headed to the pulpit. I’ve seen church members verbally and publicly attack pastors just prior to the service. Frankly, the complaints just get old – and it’s not surprising that some pastors want to quit today.
- Somebody didn’t show up yesterday. Pastors often recognize who’s there and who’s not there on Sunday. We look for our regulars, and we miss them when they’re not there. Maybe we expected a guest to attend, but he didn’t show up. Or, perhaps the attendance numbers were just down again. When people don’t attend, we wonder why… and we often take it personally.
- Nobody responded to the gospel on Sunday. Every preacher I know wants his church to respond to the gospel in clear and uncompromised obedience. When we sense that no one has heard and responded to the Word, our passion for preaching can quickly become a heart of despair.
- Nobody prayed with him yesterday. This one might sound minor, but it’s not insignificant. The pastor leads in prayer, prays for others, and hears prayer concerns all day on Sunday – but few people put their arms around a pastor and say, “Let me just pray for you today.” Even in the midst of the Sunday crowd, the pastorate can, in fact, be very lonely.
- Today, he starts it all over again. Regardless of what happened yesterday, the pastor must begin a new workweek today. The needs of the congregation and the world are real. Ministry must take place, and sermons must be prepared. The grind is again upon the local church pastor – and he needs your prayer.
What would you add to this list?