Pastoral Prayer – What is it All About?

By lan Warner


What is a pastoral prayer? That is a great question that many people miss. Oftentimes, when you go to church, prayers can seem like nothing more than a good transition. First, you worship, pray to transition, and then maybe pray after reading God’s word. Pastoral prayer is an opportunity for the pastor to have an extended prayer with the congregation.

All Christians must understand the power of prayer. It’s an opportunity to submit to God. In prayer, we have to recognize that we have nothing figured out and can do nothing without God. In a world trying to make you feel like God and live a life where you do whatever you want, prayer centers you back on God.

1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
1 Chronicles 16:11 ” Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
The pastoral prayer is a good opportunity to take your focus off of the pastor as well. Too many churches are led astray because everything is about the pastor. So many people pridefully say that they only attend a church because of one of the pastors there.
If that pastors leave or have a moral failure, then they are done with church. How sad is that? There is nothing wrong with loving a pastor but the Body of Christ is much more than the pastor. So when the pastor takes time to pray, the Pastor has to rely on one much greater than him.

6 Things to Express in Pastoral Prayer

1. Dependence on Christ

The pastoral prayer is a good opportunity to take your focus off of the pastor as well. Too many churches are led astray because everything is about the pastor. So many people pridefully say that they only attend a church because of one of the pastors there.
If that pastor leaves or has a moral failure, then they are done with church. How sad is that? There is nothing wrong with loving a pastor but the Body of Christ is much more than the pastor. So when the pastor takes time to pray, the Pastor has to rely on one much greater than him.
No pastor can bring the word of God without the Holy Spirit working in that person and interceding on his behalf. Therefore, pastors are simply people that God uses to shepherd his flock.

2. An Opportunity to Love on People

The pastoral prayer can be a fantastic opportunity to pray for people in the church who are often forgotten. It can be amazing to pray for things that are coming up. A lot of the prayers before a sermon are just about the pastor being used by God for the message, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it’s a missed opportunity.
You can use the prayer before service to be seen. You can use the prayer to build community and take people who think no one cares and help them see that not only God love them, but the Body of Christ does too.

3. Get Away From Church Being an Experience

Too many Christians want an experience when they come to church because The Word of God is not enough for them. The truth is that the Word of God is enough; singing and worshipping him is enough with one guitar and one vocalist. You don’t need to have a light show and smoke machines. Unfortunately, when it comes to prayers, many can’t handle the reality of in-depth prayers. They want to get to the message so they can understand how God can improve their life.
A pastoral prayer will naturally begin to weed out the people who want an experience. The purpose of the Church is for the focus to be on God and for him to be enough on his own. That is not to say that you don’t want to attract new people, you do! But you want to attract them for the right reasons.

For example, anyone can water down the Gospel. You can alter the gospel message by removing words people don’t like, such as:

  • Hell
  • Sin
  • Unrighteous
  • Repentance

But then, people will not come for the true Gospel. Instead, they will come for something fake, and that will never last.

 

4. Teach Others to Go Deep In Prayer

If no one shows you how to pray deeply, then you most likely will not do it. Many who know how to do it have done so because someone in their family prayed over them and show them the way. Who better to lead the way on this for the congregation than the Pastor? It’s an opportunity to help the entire church grow in what it means to pray.

 

5. Reinforce The Mission and Vision of Your Church

Whatever you pray for is what you show the congregation is important. If your church cares about the neighborhood you live in, for example, you will pray for it. If your church wants to impact the city or help widows, they should consistently hear it in prayer.

6. Some Feel The Presence of God The Most in Prayer

One of the ladies in my small group had brought her sister to church, and she is an unbeliever. When I asked her how it went for her after service, she told me that her sister cried. The reason she cried was because of the worship music. There is just something about worship music that gets her to open up to God.
The same is true for many people with prayer, and it’s when they connect with God and feel God reveals himself the most. We know this with music but imagine we just skated through the worship time quickly? It would not do a service to the people who connect with God that way. When you have deep Pastoral Prayers, it allows some unbelievers to feel the presence of God.

Final Thoughts On The Pastoral Prayer

There will never be just one element that makes up the church. The point of church is to gather with the saints to Glorify God. Therefore, churches need to make sure that they worship God, allow people to hear the Word of God, baptize people, and partake in communion.
What better way to worship God and to show dependence than to make prayer central. Hearing the word of God is biblical, and it matters, but so is prayer and the Pastor has a duty to lead the congregation well in this area.

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