We usually have a reasonable expectation of our pastors. That expectation is that they spend time in prayer. But have you ever wondered what a pastor prays for? Or, when does a pastor pray? How about this one—for whom do pastors pray?
I think these are fairly good questions, but sometimes we need to stop and consider the matter of pastoral prayers and pastoral praying in general. Saint Paul gives us a good example of what, perhaps, a pastor’s prayer should be.
First of all, a pastor’s prayer should be addressed to the true God. We see in our text that Paul does this succinctly and clearly. God the Father and Jesus Christ are mentioned as the objective of his prayer: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” These two are two thirds of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Spirit is mentioned obliquely when Paul mentions spiritual gifts in verse 8 of our reading.
Secondly, acknowledgement of past blessings received should be considered and even mentioned as a foundation for even further prayers and petitions.
Third, Paul anticipated future blessings that would be received from God. Here he mentioned God preserving His people in this life and world to the end.
Finally, Paul gives a statement of doxology or praise to God in reflection of his thankful certainty that the prayer is heard and answered: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Come to think of it, such prayers and praying aren’t limited to pastors and other church workers. Praying is a privilege and responsibility for every Christian. In Psalm 50:15 we read: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." St. Paul also said that we should pray without ceasing (See 1 Thess. 5: 17).
So, we pray: Lord, teach us to pray. Enable us to pray. Hear our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.