This article is part of the How to Pray series.
5 Ways to Pray
You also must help us by prayer so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.—2 Cor. 1:11
Like most church members, you are grateful for your pastor. You would like to do something to show him your appreciation but are unsure what might be most helpful to him. As a ministry wife for many years, would you let me offer you some advice? More than a dinner out, more than verbal praise, more than any other gift you could give your pastor (except perhaps a week-long elk hunt in Wyoming—ask me how I know!), he will treasure your prayers for his family.
Would you be willing to pray for your pastor’s family? Since we live in two realities—the seen and the unseen (Col. 1:16)—would you be willing to take up your position on the invisible but real battlefield where your pastor’s family lives as their earthly husband and father serves our King? To help you get started, here are five ways you can pray for your pastor’s family.
1. Pray that each member of his family experiences his or her own intimate and fulfilling relationship with the God their pastor serves.
Even as our pastor leads so many families to you, help his own family respond as well to your word and your ways with an eager, open-hearted Yes! By your grace, give his wife and children an unquenchable thirst for eternal, spiritual things that can only be satisfied in you (Ps. 42:1–2). Help them not to rely on their pastor’s relationship to you, but instill within each one of them a profound longing to know and serve you individually no matter whose family they are in. Build up within each member of my pastor’s family the unshakeable belief that the God their family serves is worth anything and everything (Ps. 73:25). Foster within them, individually and as a family unit, an undeniable joy in you (Ps. 4:7), binding them together as part of your household of faith. Don’t allow any of them to wander from the path of true life on their journey to Heaven (Ps. 16:11). And when they come to the end of their days, give them the joy of serving you together in your heavenly kingdom even as they have here on earth.
In the precious name of Jesus,
2. Pray that your pastor’s wife finds her rest in God alone.
My pastor’s wife seems lonely at times. I wonder if it’s hard for her to sit alone and tend to the children by herself during each service. Does she need a special friend, Lord? Do you want me to reach out to her? Help me to know how to love her well in your name.
Thank you for all the unseen ways she cares for our pastor so that he can serve us. When the inevitable hard times come—the times of stress and fatigue, of bitter backbiting and false rumors, of dwindling attendance and shrinking funds—help her to find her rest in you alone, rather than in her husband’s success or their flock’s approval (Ps. 62:1; Is. 26:3–4). Grant her the grace to serve you cheerfully, with the assurance that God sees and cares (Col. 3:23–25). Give her the patience and courage she needs to bear up under criticism and even slander (Romans 12:12, 18–19). Would you, the God of hope, please fill her with all joy and peace in believing so that she may abound in hope by the power of your Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)?
Please restore her soul as you lead her in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.
Take up your position on the invisible but real battlefield where your pastor’s family lives as their earthly husband and father serves our King.
3. Pray that your pastor’s wife loves her husband and children in biblical ways.
Inspire my pastor’s wife to clothe herself with strength and dignity, looking well to the ways of her household. Help her to be the excellent wife you describe in your word, a wife in whom her husband can trust (Prov. 31:11, 25, 27). As she and her husband care for so many hurting people, give her the insight she needs to make their home an oasis: “. . . like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land” (Is. 32:2). Help her to stay wildly in love with that man she married, despite the hardships of a ministry marriage. May she continue to cultivate that special something that drew him to her in their dating years. Bless them with a fulfilling and exemplary marriage every day of their life together, all the way to their final breath, so that we can look to them for hope and guidance in our own marriages (Prov. 19:14).
As she raises their children, show her how to commend you to them. Open up new ideas for her to make you glorious and enticing to her little ones (Ps.145:4–5). Gift her with ways to cheerfully and confidently show her children what a privilege it is to serve the Lord as a family (Ps. 100:2) so that they grow up with a wholesome view of you and your Church (Psalm 122:1).
Thank you for this woman of God. Make your face shine upon her and give her peace.
In Jesus’s name,
4. Pray that your pastor’s children learn to love the Lord Jesus with wholehearted devotion:
Thank you for the children you have given to my pastor and his wife. Even as he leads and teaches us, open their young hearts to his leadership in their home. Help them to see how magnificent you are to their daddy and may they long to know you personally in that way as well. May they show the nurturing and graces of a strong Christian home (Ps. 144:12).
Befriend them as they grow up in a home where their daddy has committed to serve you full time as a minister of Christ. Develop in them—even as young children, and then on into their teen years—a deep love for your word so that they find your commandments irresistibly delightful instead of depressingly demanding (Ps. 119:47). Sensitize the taste buds of their souls so that they will experience your words as sweet to their taste and the joy of their hearts (Ps. 119:103, 111). As they mature and grow to love your word with greater earnestness, grant them deep peace and stability (Psalm 119:165). Make them strong in you and keep them walking in your name (Zech 10:12).
I ask this in the name of your obedient Son, Jesus Christ,
5. Pray that your pastor’s children embrace a generational faith, committing themselves to serving Christ wherever he leads them in the years ahead.
I imagine it is not always easy being a pastor’s kid. Show me ways to be loving and kind to my pastor’s children.
I ask that you graciously plant within each one of them your living presence, drawing them to yourself with captivating beauty. Give these children a strong generational faith, passed down through our pastor to their young hearts so that they might know you and your glorious deeds and the wonders you have done. Help them, Lord, to set their hope in you, never forgetting your works but keeping your commandments (Ps. 78:3–4, 6–7).
Use them as they mature to proclaim your wondrous deeds and your might to another generation. Give them an earnest desire to pass on what they learned as they grew up in the home of our pastor. Keep them faithful to you even to old age as they anticipate their reunion with our pastor and their mother around your throne in Heaven (Ps. 71:17–18).
In the beautiful name of Jesus,
Thank you for praying for your pastor’s family.
And this is the confidence we have that toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. —I John 5:14
Jani Ortlund is the author of Help! I’m Married to My Pastor: Encouragement for Ministry Wives and Those Who Love Them.
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