Job Description for a Pastor Part 2: To Pray

By: Dr. Clark Armstrong

Several weeks ago, I gave an overview of what I feel to be – after years of ministry – the job description for a pastor. We discovered from Scripture that God has called the pastor to do four simple things: to pray, to preach, to love and to lead. In today’s article, we address our first priority which is “to pray.” When the apostles appointed deacons, they did so because—We will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4).

In most of Paul’s letters he mentions his prayers for the recipients such as Ephesians 1:16—I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, and in Philippians 1:4—In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. Many times, he gives the content of his actual prayers as examples for us (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21; Phil. 1:9-11; Col. 1:9-14; 1 Thess. 3:11-13; 1 Tim. 2:1-8).

In the book What’s a Pastor to Do? by Jeren Rowell, the roles of the pastor are likened to the biblical images of Prophet, Priest, Shepherd, and King. These Old Testament images can correspond easily to the New Testament components of a pastor’s job description. The devotion to prayer would be a part of one’s priestly role.

Our responsibilities in the arena of prayer as a pastor relate to both the internal life (personal) and to the communal life (church body). As far as our own internal prayer life, I see two parts: our personal spiritual formation (growth) and our intercessory prayer life. It is imperative that our own devotional life of prayer and our walk with the Lord is healthy and growing for the rest of our ministry to be effective. It is also important at all times that we devote ourselves to intercession, praying for our flock, for a lost and broken world, and for the mission of God in the world.

Our prayer responsibility in the church should include three things: participation in prayer groups, guiding others into deeper prayer lives, and development of prayer ministries. As a pastor, we must pay close attention also to the prayers within our worship services. One thing should characterize our gatherings—His “house” should be a house of prayer. Never underestimate the power of the pastoral prayer in a worship service either.

There is one man mentioned in Colossians 4:12 whose name is Epaphras. We do not know for certain that he was a pastor, but it sounds like he was. My sport in high school and college was wrestling and so I especially love this Bible character. He is a mighty example for me. It says that he is a servant of Christ Jesus who is always wrestling in prayer for them, that they may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

Pastors, know your job description. Do the first thing first and do it the best: pray. Do not neglect your duties in prayer, and God will indeed be pleased with you in the end.

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