And let him love everyone. Our Lord said even the world’s people will love those who love them, will give to those who return the favor, and will do good to those who are kind to them. But God’s people are to live by a higher standard and love the unlovely, give to the undeserving, and bless those who are ugly and harsh to them (see Luke 6:27-35). Pastors will have constant opportunities to show how this is done. Let us pray they will be role models.
5. A great relationship with his spouse.
“Husband, love your wife even as Christ loved the church…” (Ephesians 5:25). Peter told his audience that husbands and wives “are heirs together of the grace of life” (I Peter 3:7). As a husband/pastor of more than half a century, when my wife and I were close, I always felt closer to the Lord.
Husbands must take the initiative in protecting quality time with his wife and children. He should enlist the aid of the office and ministry staff in this endeavor, which will always be under attack. The congregation should pray for the pastor’s marriage and be supportive of reasonable requests to further strengthen this vital relationship.
My longtime friend Pastor Mike Miller not only keeps Friday as his day with wife, Terri, but he announces it from the pulpit and makes sure the staff covers all responsibilities for that day. They’ve kept this schedule for many years, and the vitality of their marriage is a tribute to this devotion.
6. Good health.
“I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (III John 2).
A wise pastor must be proactive in guarding his weight and his general health. The obese pastor will be limited in his activities and may have a shortened tenure. The congregation cannot watch his diet nor insist on his exercise routine, but it can pray. Let us pray for our pastors.
7. Wisdom in decision-making.
“If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…” (James 1:5). I expect it’s just as biblical and God-pleasing to ask God to grant wisdom to our pastors, too.
Pastors are called on to make decisions a hundred times every day: How to spend their limited time and energies, which crisis to respond to, how to deal with a staff problem or a difficult member, and how to balance the needs of their families with all the other demands. A pastor’s job is 24/7/365 and he lives in a world of unfinished business. When he lays his head on the pillow at night, pray God will remove the anxieties and worries that would rob him of sleep.
8. That he may be protected from an unrestrained ego.
“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you…(not) as lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock… Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you…” (I Peter 5).
Pastors of large churches may find themselves surrounded by people who flatter them, who praise them relentlessly, and whose constant admiration is stifling. The pastor who addresses large crowds, who is receiving acclaim from the denomination for his effectiveness, and whose successes call to him from television screens and book sales will need to take steps to resist his own pride. You and I can pray for him.
Pray that the pastor may never believe all the flattery of his best supporters nor take to heart all the negativism from his detractors. Ask the Lord to keep him balanced and on an even keel.
9. That he will have a sweet servant spirit.
A “gentle and quiet spirit (is) very precious in the sight of God” (I Peter 3:4). The ideal pastor is gentle and kind in person and strong and forceful when declaring God’s Word. After all, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness…” (Galatians 5:22-23).