In most of Paul’s letters, he included a record of exactly what he prayed for the churches or individuals he was writing to. His prayers are rich with insights into the character of God and Paul’s own love for the churches. However, Paul did not just pray for his readers. He often asked them to pray specifically for him. For example, at the end of Ephesians, he asks the church to pray that he would be given boldness that he might preach the gospel (Eph. 6:19-20). In Colossians, Paul requests prayer for his ability to make the gospel clear when he preaches it (Col. 4:3-4).
Prayer is essential to the fruitfulness of preaching. God has ordained that prayer be one of the means by which He accomplishes His purposes through preaching. Once, Charles Spurgeon (The Prince of Preachers) was asked about his obvious success in preaching. He simply replied, “My people pray for me.” What a profound insight from a man who knew that he was not alone behind that pulpit. He was confident that God was with him because his congregation was laboring in prayer for him and with him.
Christians, how often do you pray for your pastors who preach the Word of God to you? How devoted in prayer are you for the work of preaching? The health of the church is dependent on a man of God standing with an open Bible and declaring the glory of Christ’s person and work. The success of the sermon depends upon the sovereign work of God to open our hearts to hear and apply His Word. Thus, we must plead with God for His blessing on the preacher and on the message he preaches.
Here are a few suggestions of what to pray for those who preach:
1. During the week, pray for God to reveal the burden of the text to him.
2. During the week, pray that God would grip the preacher’s heart with His glory revealed in the text.
3. On Sunday morning, pray that God would free him from distractions.
4. On Sunday morning, pray that he would proclaim the truth boldly and clearly.
5. On Sunday morning, pray for God to powerfully speak through him.
6. On Sunday morning, pray that Christ would be treasured by all gathered.
Think of the effect on your own heart of praying for those who preach. When we plead with God to do these things, we will wake on Sunday with an anticipation of what He is going to say to us as we hear His Word. All glory for successful preaching should ultimately go to Jesus Christ, who purchased all good things on the cross. However, pray in such a way that your pastor will be able to say, “My people pray for me” when he senses the help of God to proclaim the gospel.
A concluding word to parents: What an impact it would make on your children to hear their father and mother regularly praying by name for their pastors.