I have the great privilege of attending one of the larger churches in my state, which means I have access to a whole bunch of amazingly gifted, spiritually strong leaders (and they’re pretty fun to be around, too!).  It also means that my church gets a lot of press, gratefully all for good reasons.

But we’ve all heard the stories of highly regarded pastors, usually of large and influential churches, who lost their ministries because they or a family member sinned publicly.  We’ve heard stories of pastors’ reputations being ruined and their ministries dissolved because of some sort of scandal.

Have you ever wondered “How could this happen to [name that fallen pastor]?” The answer is simple: Satan doesn’t like strong, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching pastors.

So, in honor of Pastor Appreciation Month, I submit the following 5 ways you can pray for your pastors.  And trust me, your pastors need all the prayer they can get!

  • Pray for their marriages

So many pastors have been taken down because they got involved in affairs.  And pastors’ spouses have a tough job, what with constantly being in the spotlight, sacrificing time with their spouses because of church commitments, and being subject to way more criticism than they deserve.  Pray that God will protect your pastors’ marriages, and that your pastors and their spouses would honor the sanctity of their marriages.

  •  Pray for their children

You know what’s harder than being a pastor’s spouse? Being a pastor’s kid.  Pray for your pastors’ children!

  • Pray for their friendships

It’s surprisingly hard for pastors to find good friends.  They spend so much time at their jobs (yes, church is their job), and most candidates for friendship are actually congregants (think, “clients”).  That can make it difficult to form good friendships, but just like you and me, pastors need good strong friendships.  So pray that God will bless your pastors’ friendships, and surround them with a good circle of true friends who can keep them accountable, share their joys and their struggles, and allow them to be themselves.

  • Pray for their spiritual protection

Remember what I said before about how Satan feels about good pastors? Yeah. This one’s pretty self-explanatory

  • Pray for their mental and emotional health

This may come as a surprise to some people, but pastors are people too. And because they are in high-profile, high-stress occupations with near-impossible standards of “success” (no matter what they do on Sunday, someone is going to complain on Monday morning), they too are subject to depression, anxiety and the like. Pray that God will protect their minds and their hearts.

Pray for your pastors regularly.  Let them know that you’re praying for them.  They need that encouragement, and they need you to stand with them and to bring them to the throne of God regularly. And once in a while, take the time to write them a note to let them know how much you appreciate them as individuals and as leaders.  They’ll like that. : )

What would you add to this list?