When it comes to pastors: (1) You must pray for them. Nothing releases the power of a pastor’s ministry like the prayers of their flock. Paul recognised that his effectiveness in ministry depended on the people’s prayers: ‘Pray in the Spirit… Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me… that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel.’(Ephesians 6:18–19 NIV)
Satan targets pastors who preach the truth. The thing he hates and fears most is God’s Word: ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against… the powers of this dark world and… spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ (Ephesians 6:12 NIV) Often when pastors are preaching, the spiritual struggle is so intense that afterwards they find themselves drained. Praying ‘in the Spirit’ for your pastor strengthens them and maximises their effectiveness when it comes to reaching the lost and bringing those who are saved into spiritual maturity (see 1 Corinthians 1:21).
(2) You must respect them. In a day when church has become more ‘casual’, it’s easy to lose respect for God’s leaders. The Israelites did it: ‘The Lord Himself has scattered them… The priests are shown no honour, the elders no favour.’ (Lamentations 4:16 NIV) And God’s standards haven’t changed: ‘Elders [pastors] with a gift of leadership should be considered worthy of respect.’ By respecting your pastor and church leaders, you act as a role model for the sacredness of God’s ministry to this generation and the next.