When we pray, when we ask God for things, we must try to tie as many requests as possible to Scripture. That is an immensely practical step.
Prayer is a major emphasis in When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search. Chapter 1 outlines why pastoral search committees and churches seeking pastors should be motivated to pray as they search for a pastor.
One thing that will help your church pray through your pastoral transition is to suggest a number of passages to keep in mind when you pray. Of course, the Bible is full of them. Here are a few especially strategic passages.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers (Matthew 9:35-38) – As you consider the hurting people in your community who need a shepherd, plead with the Lord to send you a pastor to work beside you in your harvest field. See also For Those Who Recruit in Local Churches.
- If your leaders are tired, pray that you would all be steadfast and immoveable always abounding in the work of the Lord because it is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). 1 Corinthians 15 is one of the richest chapters in all of Scripture. Paul begins with a concise summary of the Gospel and argues the centrality of the resurrection. Sometimes in considering the theological richness, we fail to see that there is a very practical conclusion. In light of the glory of the Gospel and the resurrection, keep going even when you’re tired.
- Pray through the qualifications for a pastor (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9). Ask the Lord to help your church identify a pastor who is biblically qualified.
- Pray for biblical discernment – Proverbs 26:10 warns that hiring the first person to come along is like having an archer around who takes random shots into the crowd. If your church is to call the right pastor, you need biblical discernment. Pray Philippians 1:9-11 in which Paul prays that the Philippians love would increasingly abound in knowledge and depth of insight. See also Romans 12:1-2.
- Pray that your church would think biblically about pastoral compensation – In 1 Timothy 5:17-18 Paul encourages churches to take care of their pastors by reminding them that the pastor is the “beast of burden” who grinds the grain for their spiritual bread. Paraphrased, “Take care of your pastor so that you will be fed.” From the beginning churches looking for a pastor should be motivated to pray that the church will be committed and unified about praying for a new pastor.
- Pray that your church and your new pastor would have faith in our great God – In 2 Kings 6:17, Elisha and his servant faced an apparently impossible situation. Elisha prayed that the Lord would open his servants eyes so that he would see the Lord’s cosmic forces. Reading 2 Kings 6:8-23 would be a wonderful way to begin a prayer meeting for a new pastor.
What scripture have you found helpful in your pastoral search?