Because I have a congregation that loves me more than I deserve, I am often asked by them: “how can I pray for you?” I’ve tried to put some thought into how I answer that question. So, maybe these ideas will help you pray for your pastor, or tell others how they can pray for you.
1. That [your pastor] would know and love the living God, would have a saving interest in Christ, being purchased by His blood, and thus would be bound to the Lord by the indissoluble bond of the Holy Spirit.
2. That [your pastor] would know, embrace and ever more deeply understand the Gospel and be shaped by it in life and ministry.
3. That [your pastor] would be useful servant of the Lord, that he would know and love God’s word, God’s people, and God’s kingdom; that he would be used to build it up and so that it prevails even against Hell’s gates.
4. That [your pastor] would study, practice and teach the Word of the Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
5. That [your pastor] would love to pray, because he loves to commune with his God, and that he would be a man of prayer, characteristically.
6. That [your pastor] would be ever dependent upon and filled with the Spirit; and that he would possess true Spiritual wisdom.
7. That [your pastor] would be holy unto the Lord. That his tongue and heart would be wholly God’s.
8. That [your pastor] would be kept from pride, and especially spiritual pride. That the Lord himself would be gracious to slay pride in him, and that your pastor would endeavor to always be putting pride to death, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
9. That God would give [your pastor] guidance as to where to focus his efforts in ministry.
10. That He would protect [your pastor] from himself, from the enemy of his soul, and from all earthly enemies.
11. That no decision which [your pastor] ever makes or desire that [your pastor] ever pursues would restrict his ability to pour his whole soul into the Gospel ministry.
12.That many would be converted and many built up under [your pastor]’s ministry, to God’s glory alone.
13. That the Lord would bless [your pastor]’s wife, […], with holiness and happiness, Gospel assurance and Gospel rest.
14. That God would make [your pastor] a decent husband and father.
15. That [your pastor] would be a good friend to his wife, and love her self-sacrificially,
16. That [your pastor] would be a good daddy to his children. That they would love God, their parents and the church.
17. That [your pastor] would be a testimony in the home so that his wife might be able to respect him when he is in the pulpit, and so that [your pastor] will be able to feed her soul, along with the rest of the congregation.
Pastor Jay wrote:
I think that we should pray for his salvation and pray that laws are continued to be established that would guarantee our right to proclaim the gospel and freely assemble (1 Tim. 2:1-6). Mainly that we would have freedom of speech. Once freedom of speech is taken away, then we will be in trouble with preaching and teaching the truth of the Word of God openly and freely.
Ligon Duncan (who watched President Obama’s inauguration with Al Mohler, Mark Dever, C.J. Mahaney, John Piper, and Thabiti Anyabwile) writes:
…Many Christians find themselves profoundly conflicted because of some of the moral positions and social policies that Mr. Obama espouses. So how do you pray for your President when you disagree with him?
Thankfully, the Bible is not silent about such a question. After all it commands us to pray for all in authority (1 Timothy 2:2), no matter their party, policies or religion (or lack thereof). It is vital that we think Christianly, which is to say, biblically, about this issue (and not just as Democrats or Republicans who happen to be Christian). So, back to the question. How do we pray for Mr. Obama? Here are some ideas (and I want to thank Al Mohler and Justin Taylor for many of these thoughts and words) for praying for our new President, Barack Obama.
First, it needs to be said, that we ought to commit ourselves to pray for our new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation. We will do this, not only because of the biblical command to pray for our rulers, but because of the second greatest commandment “Love your neighbor” and what better way to love your neighbor, than to pray for his well-being. Those with the greatest moral and political differences with the President ought to ask God to engender in them, by His Spirit, genuine neighbor-love for Mr. Obama.
We will also pray for our new President because he (and we) face challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous. We will pray that God will grant him wisdom. He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office. May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together.
We will pray that God will protect this nation even as our new President settles into his role as Commander in Chief, and that God will grant peace as he leads the nation through times of trial and international conflict and tension.
We will pray that God would change President Obama’s mind and heart on issues of crucial moral concern. May God change his heart and open his eyes to see abortion as the murder of the innocent unborn, to see marriage as an institution to be defended, and to see a host of issues in a new light. We must pray this from this day until the day he leaves office. God is sovereign, after all.
For those Christians who are more concerned than overjoyed about the prospects of an Obama presidency, there should be a remembrance that as our President, Barack Obama will have God-given authority to govern us, and that we should view him as a servant of God (Rom. 13:1, 4) to whom we should be subject (1 Pet. 2:13-14; Rom. 13:1; Rom. 13:5). Thus, again, we are to pray for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2). We are to thank God for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2). We are to respect Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7). We are to honor Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17).
For those Christians who are more overjoyed than concerned about the prospects of an Obama presidency, there should be a remembrance of our ultimate allegiance: Jesus is Lord (and thus, He, not we, decides what is right and wrong), we serve God not man, and the Lord himself has promised to establish “the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him” (Malachi 3:18). Thus, where our new president opposes or undermines biblical moral standards in our society, fails to uphold justice for the unborn, undermines religious liberties or condones an ethos that is hostile to the Gospel, we will pray for God’s purposes to triumph over our President’s plans and policies.
Without doubt and whatever our particular views may be, we face hard days ahead. Realistically, we must all expect to be frustrated and disappointed. Some now may feel defeated and discouraged. While others may all-too-soon find their audacious hopes unfounded and unrealized. We must all keep ever in mind that it is God who raises up leaders and nations, and it is God who pulls them down, and who judges both nations and rulers. We must not act or think like unbelievers, or as those who do not trust God.
So, now, Christian. Let’s get to work. And pray.