A few weeks ago I shared an article that detailed several prayer requests that a congregation can pray for her pastor. With that in mind, it seems appropriate to offer pastors several prayer requests pray for the congregation among whom our Lord has given you to serve (1 Peter 5:2).
Don’t forget pastor, that you do not serve at the pleasure of the congregation. You serve at the pleasure of the Lord. He has assigned you a field of service, with a congregation among whom you will serve. Pastor, this should liberate you to pray heartfelt and genuine prayers that your members might serve the Lord with you. Similarly, pastor this should allow you to minister and pray even if your congregation does not choose to serve the Lord with you. The ministry of the Word the Lord has called you to accomplish demands that you call people to follow, not push them to follow.
With that in mind, pastor turn to Ephesians 4:11-16 begin to pray these requests for your congregation. Notice again that the Lord gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers to his church. Verse 12 and following tells us that the purposes for which the Lord gifted the church. Pastor you can pray that your congregation receives these gifts in the following manner.
- Pray that your congregation receives the FORECAST you deliver to them from God’s Word about what life will look like if they seek to please God, but also what life will look life if they do not seek to please God (4:14-15). We have the responsibility to both warn our congregation of the dangers involved in faithless living, but also to set for them a vision of how to serve and please the Lord. Their response must remain as an issue between them and the Lord.
- Further pray that your congregation will allow you the privilege to EQUIP them to serve in ways that will further please the Lord (4:12). Each time you forecast a vision for the future of Christ’s people in your area, you should consider further ways that you might EQUIP them to serve the Lord. Perhaps you consider discipleship classes or in other types of biblical principles and processes that you might desire to put in place to help those in your midst to better serve and please Christ. Even so, pastors remember that you pray for people to respond as saints desiring to serve in the work of ministry, not as your personal slaves or workforce. Just as you must personally respond to Christ’s call in your life, you should encourage, help, and pray for those among whom you serve to respond to Christ’s call in their individual situations.
- Pray as well pastor that you can EMPOWER those saints among whom you serve to minister in capacities that will bring unity and maturity only available to those filled with the Spirit of Christ (4:13). Pastor, even when you have a vision that you equip your members to accomplish, expect that which only Christ can accomplish in the members with whom you serve. Oversee and measure those with whom you serve by the only standards that should matter. Have you brought more unity and maturity to the body Christ, fellow servant? Brother or sister, do you feel the presence of Christ in your life and ministry more now than before you began to serve? Pray that with questions and encouragements like these that you will be able to empower your people for Christian service.
- Finally pastor DISCIPLE those who will come alongside of you in the ministry of the Word God has called you to accomplish. Share the desire to help meet and know Christ in outreach events. Meet with those who want to grow as fellow brothers in Christ at breakfast and lunch meetings. Carefully direct the attention of those in committee and board meetings towards spiritual concerns. Never leave a hospital room, or a hallway prayer meeting without pointing people to what the Lord has said. Take care to address those burdened in sin or suffering with biblical counsel that seeks to restore them. Preach discipleship in the pulpit and teach it in leadership or membership classes. Do all of this knowing that the goal of your ministry does not seek to replace Christ in these people’s lives. You do this praying that those you disciple will one day minister in the same fashion to build the church up in love (4:16).
Notice if you will that the first letter of each of these prayer requests spells out the word FEED. What did Jesus mention to Peter in John 21 as the manner of every shepherd’s faithful ministry? The manner of a shepherd’s ministry always relates to feeding God’s flock the Word. If you pray faithfully and seek to please the Lord who called you, no doubt some will not desire to follow you or the Lord. Even so you and those who do respond can experience great joy in whatever ministry the Lord has given.