pastor appreciation month

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As I think back to almost 15 years of full-time pastoral ministry I have received some great gifts in the month of October and during other times of the year. Books have to be at the top and the bottom of the list, simply because there are good ones and there are ones that should have never been written! We have received free babysitting for a night out while a Grandma looked after Danny and Nadia at home when they were little. We have received a gift certficiate for Milestones and that restaurant rocks! (We ordered some cheese ball type appetizers that were simply lethal!) One of my favourite memories is getting to borrow a church member’s convertible for our anniversary. (We took the long way to Grand Bend and by the time we went back, we road with the hood up for a while because we were so hot from the sun! We put on the A/C for a while and then stopped and dropped the top again when the sun was going down.)

Those are all tangible gifts and we appreciated every one of them but if there is one gift that I could suggest for your pastor this October, that doesn’t cost any money…I am going to suggest that you invest in your pastor’s life by praying for him, with a passage in mind.

[2:1] And you were dead in the trespasses and sins [2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—[3] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

This text reminds believers of the pull that the world, the flesh, and the devil once had on them before the gospel shook their souls. This text is also a reminder of the enemies that we will continue to battle this side of Heaven as believers…and the battle can be toughest and hottest for the ones on the front lines…the shepherds of our souls.

Pray against the influence of the world on your pastor. It’s so easy for the pastor to look over to see what his neighbour has or what the other pastor down the street has, and compare it with what he has in regards to the things of this life. When his neighbour regularly trades up his car every two years or when it seems that that member of the family is always returning from a cruise with a tan to match, it’s easy for jealousy to rear it’s ugly head. Pray that your pastor would learn to be content when the cupboard is full and when the cupboard is empty (Philippians 4:11-12). (Please don’t misunderstand this as a reason to poorly pay your pastor!)

Pray against the influence of the devil on your pastor. The devil can influence us in so many subtle ways. He is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). He prowls around like a roaring lion hoping to snack on someone (1 Peter 5:8). He is the father of lies (John 8:44). (How do you tell if the devil is lying? His lips are moving!) If you spend any time in Ephesians 6 you will know that the enemy of your soul and your pastor’s soul has a diabolical plan that is against the gospel, against gospel preaching churches, and against gospel preaching pastors. May you be praying that your pastor would be alert, sober-minded, and watchful (1 Peter 5:8).

Pray against the influence of the flesh on your pastor. Your pastor may struggle in ways that you have no clue about. Recent falls of well-known pastors is a reminder that pastors put on one shoe at a time just like the rest of the folks in your congregation. They have real flesh that they struggle with like the Apostle Paul did in Romans 7. Your pastor may not have accountability but needs it. May he have a Nathan like David did. Pray that your pastor may cry out on a daily basis for God’s grace and the ability to flee the desires of the flesh much like Joseph fled from his master’s wife.

I have just given you a few examples of the many ways that you could pray a specific text for your pastor. The reality is that many tell their pastor that they are praying for him but sometimes they neglect to tell him exactly what they are praying for him for. Use Ephesians 2:1-3 as a foundation for praying for your pastor…and let him know. A pastor who understands the power of prayer and the enemies that he is up against, will thank you, from the bottom of his soul.

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