Our spiritual leaders are the ones who guide us on our journey of faith. They are the ones who give us the courage to face the challenges of life and the wisdom to make the right decisions. They are the ones who show us the way to God. But what many of us forget is that our spiritual leaders need our prayers too. They are just as human as we are and they need our prayers to help them stay strong in their faith and to guide us in the right direction. In this article, we will explore why it is so important to pray for our spiritual leaders and how it can help us all in our spiritual journey.
God sometimes identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd ( John 10:11 ), and one of the Shepherd’s roles is to lead the sheep to good pastures ( Psalms 23:2, Psalms 95:7 ).
In this light, when we speak of spiritual authorities, we are referring to people who are established in a position of spiritual leadership to lead the people of God to the destination that God has chosen.
The goal of spiritual leadership is for people to come to know God. So a spiritual leader uses God’s methods to bring people to that dimension. It is clear that where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom ( 2 Corinthians 3:17 ), but this freedom does is not synonymous with licentiousness where everyone must behave as they want and do what they want.
This is why as we go through the Bible, we see that God always establishes a spiritual authority over a people or a community. The present world situation really demands the influence of the Church, and to achieve this, it is therefore imperative that it be provided with leaders who are endowed with spiritual authority.
So too often, we think that being under the spiritual direction of a man of God (pastor, apostle, …) the latter will only be there to carry our burdens and that he does not necessarily need that we support him. A little like it was the case of Moses who was always there to intercede for the people of Israel, while the latter did not support him for all that.
There are also many other examples from the Bible that we can give. Normally, it should not be like this, and it is also essential to pray for our spiritual authorities. This is why the apostle Paul, understanding the demands of his ministry and of his position as a spiritual leader, asks that we also pray for him. Ephesians 6: 19-20 (KJV) “Pray for me, that it may be given to me, when I open my mouth, to make known boldly and freely the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, and that I speak of it with confidence as I must speak of it.
Reasons why we should pray for our spiritual leaders.
Pray that our spiritual leaders will apply their hearts to putting God’s Word into practice.
There is a saying that goes, “Do as I say but don’t follow what I do”, a way of saying that even if the conduct is not in accordance with the Word taught, it is not a problem. . If you are a spiritual leader, you must never apply this adage. A spiritual leader needs to be exemplary in his conduct, that is to say, to be able to apply first what he requires of others.
For it is also good to preach by one’s quality of life, which is why Luke said of Jesus that He did everything He taught ( Acts 1:1 ). Ezra, also being an exemplary leader, also understood this principle. Ezra 7:10 (KJV) “For Ezra had set his heart to study and do the Law of the Lord, and to teach laws and ordinances among Israel.
Let us, therefore, ask God to give them a heart that is totally consecrated to Him, that they rely unceasingly on the action of the Spirit of God, not on their own strength so that their desire to conform to His Word will be free from of any compromise.
Pray that our spiritual authorities will always have victory in their battles.
We must come out of the illusions that a spiritual leader is free from the enemy’s attacks. Moreover, the spiritual authorities are the number one target of the enemy. Indeed, to disperse a herd, you just have to hit their driver.
Our spiritual leaders know the same struggles as all of us! However, their spiritual victories and defeats greatly impact God’s people, hence the need to carry them in prayer with particular care. Let us present them, with perseverance, before the throne of God’s grace. This will impact our own spiritual health.
Pray that our spiritual authorities always keep a servant’s heart despite their position.
Jesus, although being the greatest leader, makes us understand that He did not come to be served but to serve ( Matthew 20:28 ). Too often, the misunderstanding of a spiritual position can cause us to fall into pride. This is why it is important to pray for our authorities so that they do not forget that they are there to serve God, take care of His people, and not serve or use God.
Pray that it will be given to them to announce the Word of God with boldness.
Assurance is based on faith. An insecure leader is likely to communicate doubt and even disbelief in the hearts of those they lead. This is why we must pray for them as it says in Acts 4:28 (KJV), “And now, Lord, see their threats, and grant Your servants to speak Your Word with full boldness…”. This is almost the same prayer that Paul asks in Ephesians 6:19-20.
Pray that our spiritual authorities will be blameless in their conduct.
The apostle Paul speaking to his son Timothy about the qualities that should be possessed by all who aspire to a leadership position gives a number of characteristics that I consider to be a good prayer for our future authorities and even those who are already established. So let’s pray for them according to 1 Timothy 3:1-16.
There are so many reasons to pray for our spiritual authorities that we cannot list them all in this article. As important as it is to have spiritual leaders for the direction of God’s work, we must realize that having more is not enough. So also ask God for leaders after His heart, whose service reflects His priorities, for the future of His work depends on it.
10 Powerful Prayers for Pastors and Leaders
Here are ten areas in which you can pray over your pastors, leaders, and Church in general to bless and protect your church leadership.
Each point is based on a Scripture passage, paraphrased into a prayer. You can place the leader’s name in the blank.
One of the most powerful ways you can protect your church leadership is to pray for protection, especially against spiritual forces who will try to create obstacles for the growth of their Church.
1. Pray that pastors can remain steadfast.
Everyone, especially those in people helping professions, can feel like their labours are in vain. Your pastor is no different in his vulnerability to discouragement!
I remember a story about a fellows pastor’s family. The pastor, who was building his home, finished hanging some sliding closet doors. His wife came in to find him just gazing at the doors.
When she asked why he wasn’t moving on to the next thing, he replied, “Because I needed to soak in a moment of done. People’s needs at Church are never done. Evangelism is never done. Nothing with my work is ever done. But these doors are done. And it feels really good!”
Your pastors and leaders need prayer support to help them stay the course because the work is never done, and that can tempt you to feel like your labours are in vain.
Lord, please cause _______________ to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in Your work. Please help them to know that their toil is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
2. Pray that pastors and leaders can diligently stay the course.
As a pastor or leader, you can get called to serve, but in serving, you can forget to feed the spiritual gift that was entrusted to you. Pastors get pulled in so many directions, that the importance of their calling can get lost in the shuffle of all the other demands.
I remember a seminary professor telling us about a dear friend and fellow pastor who resigned because he could no longer bear the constant bickering of his congregation. The bylaws of the Church allowed a vote for every single line item in the budget. The lengthy meetings over whether they should have pink or white toilet paper (I guess that was a thing when he was serving) took their toll. The well was dry, and he was out of there!
Pink toilet paper became a code word for my husband and I to remember not to let the little things muddle the eternal.
Pray for your pastor not to be pulled off the course of his calling and for the Lord to provide opportunity for your Church leaders to fan the flame entrusted to them.
May ________ not be distracted, discouraged or doubtful and thus neglect the spiritual gift You have given him/her. Give them the tenacity to take great pains to maintain the path You have cleared for them and to be absorbed in work You have laid before them. (1 Timothy 4:14-15)
Leaders often are thought of as confident, but the reality is that leaders get their confidence pulled through the wringer constantly. It might even be argued that some of the worst behaviour you see from people is when their confidence is crumbling. They are grabbing hold of anything and everything to stay emotionally afloat.
Pray for your pastors and leaders to have solid confidence in Christ! Pray for that confidence to be purely set on God alone and for their Christ-confidence to be protected in their hearts.
Lord protect _____________’s sense of confidence in You. Grace _________ to not misplace any confidence in the flesh (their own accomplishments or the abilities of other people). Direct ________ to draw near to Your throne of grace with confidence for their every need. (Philippians 3:3 and Hebrews 4:16)
4. Pray words of encouragement.
So often see encouragement fuel, my family, in Christ on in their journey of faith.
A simple word from a brother or sister sparks another one to grow in sweet and beautiful ways.
I love watching that bloom in our spiritual family. Your pastors and leaders also need encouragement to bloom! Pray for the encouragement over them to walk in the fullness of their calling.
Lord, I pray that You would send a spirit of encouragement to __________ so that they might walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which they have been called; lead them to walk with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for those around them in love, and that they would be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
One of the warnings Paul gave Timothy was to avoid the battle of words that simply results in wounded hearts and churches. Not only might the leadership in your Church need your prayer covering for this matter, but the Church as a whole probably does as well.
Shepherding a congregation to a mature place of concern and awareness of how the enemy uses contentions to distract the family of Christ would be a blessing worth your prayer time! That one element of church life can make or break a congregation.
Lord, teach us how to avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, strife, and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless. Teach us how to reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. (Titus 3:9-11)
6. Pray that leaders can fulfill the mandates of Scripture.
Sometimes it can be tempting to fill needs with people only because they are available. Sometimes, leadership roles are filled with people who, at one point did meet the scriptural requirements but are now struggling with backsliding.
Pray for your leadership to hold the line and stay the course of Biblical mandates for leadership.
Father, I pray that you would surround our elders with grace to be men above reproach, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not given to argument or fighting, not fond of sordid gain, but help them to be hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, and self-controlled. Empower them to hold fast to Your faithful Word so that they will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:7-9)
My husband and I both went to seminary. I wanted to be an equipped helpmate for him. For all the seminary lectures, conferences, and years of experience, there are still moments when I come to a juncture and have to return to my Lord for more equipping.
While that sounds fine and good, it doesn’t always feel good or easy to realize you don’t have the tools for a situation in a moment of intensity. These are good times to slow down and choose to meet the Lord in your prayer closet and Bible study.
I’ve noticed that while serving, it’s tempting to make a knee-jerk reaction that springs more from a perceived need for instant resolution rather than a deep understanding or proper equipping for the dilemma.
Pray for your leaders to be equipped and to have the grace to pull back from a situation to seek out the right equipping before engaging in a situation.
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip __________ in every good thing to do His will, working in our Church that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
8. Pray for the women of the Church.
The saying goes that an even more amazing woman is behind every amazing man. Perhaps! But one thing for certain is that women play a vital role in the Church.
Jesus was supported largely through women. Elijah was supported by a woman. David was guided into wisdom by a woman. Paul took time to address the relational issues between two women who served in their Church because their peaceful relationship mattered so much to the overall health of the church family!
So pray for the women in your congregation to be the blessing God has called them to be.
Lord, grace and grow the women in our congregation to be reverent in their behaviour, not malicious gossips or enslaved to much wine. Put good teaching on their lips to encourage the young women to love their husbands, love their children, be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the Word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5)
9. Pray for the fulfilment of fellowship.
We live in a culture that increasingly struggles to connect. It isn’t only apparent in the Church. It’s in schools and 4H clubs. It’s in workplaces and community centres. Organizations that flourished 20 years ago now struggle to find people with enough passion or time to commit.
Of course, organizations need to adapt to a changing world, but if 20 years ago people were able to sit for 30 minutes around a dinner table to share life with their own flesh and blood — and now they are too busy for even that —it’s no wonder no one can find time for the rest of it.
Fellowship is a special, sacred facet of the Church. It’s the notion of family. Of belonging. Jesus gave it to us when He referred to us as His brothers and sisters and gave us the right to call God our Abba. In a culture where families are so often shattered, and connection happens through screens and devices, we must prayerfully protect the fellowship of the Church.
Pray for it to be effective! Pray for it to be real and deep and joyful. And pray for your leadership to have the opportunity to sit in the shade of friendship within their congregation.
We all desperately need the fellowship of our church family. Perhaps now more than ever.
Father, I pray that the fellowship of our faith would become effective through the knowledge of every good thing You’ve bestowed on us through our position in Christ. Bring much joy and comfort in the love we share and cause our fellowship to be a source of sweet refreshment to our entire church family. Philemon 6-7
Your pastor or leadership team are human just like you and may require your patience as they grow through something. They grieve, their hearts get weary, they are sometimes wrong. But at the end of the day God has chosen so graciously to work through leaders as humans.
You can rest your confidence in God’s design to accomplish His agenda, even when a leader is less than perfect. When an individual rests in the Lord’s design that way, instead of demanding from the leader something that even God Himself might not demand, we actually end up experiencing more fulfilment and blessing. If we are hard “sheep,” we become a burden to our leaders, and Scripture tells us this is no benefit to us.
Pray for yourself and your congregation to be a joy to your church leadership. Most leadership teams I’ve known were exceptionally encouraged and fueled forward when they felt the joy of serving. Who knows what a little extra joy might do in your Church!
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (Hebrews 13:17)