This week, news broke of another well-known Christian minister committing suicide. In the wake of this news, there has been a lot of talk about mental illness and of the absurd expectations and burdens that are put on ministers. Both of these topics are very appropriate.
As Ed Stetzer wrote, “The reality is that pastors struggle psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually…and they don’t know where to turn.”
Greg Laurie offered this observation: “Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not. At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for his help and strength, each and every day.”
One of the issues is that, unless you’re in it, it is very difficult to understand what ministers deal with, the burdens they bear, or how heavy the weight of unrealistic expectations is to carry.
With that in mind, I offer this prayer for the incredible team of ministers that I am blessed to work beside…
My Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed upon me throughout my life.
I am truly humbled and grateful when I think of all that you have done for me.
Your grace, your mercy, and your love bring me to my knees in awe of you.
One of the blessings for which I want to praise you now is the blessing of my ministry teammates.
They are such wonderful people, Lord.
They love you so much and, in so many ways, they represent you well.
They love your church, Lord, and they have given their lives in service to it.
They do so willingly and happily.
But they also feel called.
They have been called by you to serve this church at this point in time, and it is that calling that keeps them persevering through all the difficulties that come with ministry.
And the difficulties are many.
And this can be so disheartening and discouraging.
So, Lord, I pray that you will keep them close to you.
Keep them, through your Spirit, inspired and passionate about serving in your Kingdom.
Fill them with your Spirit so that they may always feel loved by you.
Help them to see the positive impact they are making in the lives of others.
Help them to see that their work for you is not in vain, and it never has been.
Continue to use them for your Kingdom purposes, Lord.
Use them as sources of encouragement to others.
Use them as instruments of the peace you bring.
Use them as teachers of your Word and of your ways.
Use them as counselors who comfort the suffering.
Use them as coaches who equip your people for works of service.
And in using them, Lord, I pray that you protect them.
Protect them from the fiery darts of Satan.
Protect them from burnout.
Protect them from cynicism.
I also pray that you provide for them, Lord.
Provide them with good physical health.
Provide them with strong mental and emotional health.
Provide them with robust spiritual health.
Provide them with people who will encourage them and support them.
Provide them with great marriages and friendships.
Provide them with undying passion for you and your church.
Provide them with a constant love for you and your Word.
Provide them with consistent gratitude for all that you do for them.
Provide them with all of this, Lord, so that they can continue to pour themselves into the lives of others out of the abundance of their relationship with you.
Let them serve from your blessing instead of to receive a blessing.
Thank you for my teammates, Lord, and I pray that they know that I love them.
But, more importantly, Lord, I pray that they know how much you love them.
In Jesus’ name I pray,