4 Soul Stirring Pastoral Prayers to Shift Your Situation
In this article, we will review four (4) pastoral prayers that will shift the atmosphere in your church service.
I. Pastoral Prayers Change Atmospheres
II. Praying for Boldness in God’s People
III. Praying for Repentance and Transparency
IV. Pleading Forgiveness for Those We’ve Hurt Unnecessarily
Pastoral Prayers Change Atmospheres
There are atmospheres that prayer can immediately shift. In a moment of transparency, I’m going to share one of mine. The reasons are many, but what works for us can for you as well.
When I began to Pastor, the subject of church finances was some ‘top secret’ discussion never had in the wider congregation. There was no nefarious reasons why, it’s just the man I replaced was a strong-armed dictator.
He was such an honest man. To keep the church going during the lean years, he poured all his savings in. God bless him! However, if finances are not transparent in the body of Believers, people begin to make up their own narratives.
Whether true or not, this is a failure of leadership.
The reality is people will lie even if you are transparent. I am not offering transparency removes false narratives. However, not being so gives the devil more room to operate.
Here is the prayer I used over many years to shift the atmosphere on this financial secrecy:
This prayer did more to shift the atmosphere than I could’ve imagined! Not only do I, as a Pastor, pray this, but this is one of our ministry imperatives. Please don't pray and not follow through with it. The way we don’t follow through with prayer is allowing our faith to be shaken.
The ultimate form of prayer follow through isn’t some form of physical action rather believing what we pray will come to fruition according to God’s Will.\
Praying for Boldness in God’s People
If you are going to shift the atmosphere in your church, this prayer will produce fruit. In addition to the prayer for transparency, our church makes encouraging people to be ‘bold’ a ministry strategic imperative.
Encouraging boldness must begin, however, with people understanding who God created them to be. Each of us has different gifts and should walk boldly in them.
The issue becomes when those gifts don’t align with what people believe about themselves.
This is where boldness is required! My pastoral prayer, with respect to encouraging people to be bold in Jesus, shifts the responsibility from me to them. It is each of our jobs to walk out who God called us to be.
The responsibility belongs to no one else. What does belong to others, is the responsibility to encourage.
Pastors must stop teaching people to become too dependent on their leadership! The reason such prayers aren’t made by Pastors, is because they don’t want people to be bold.
Well, at least not so bold as to break free from total dependence on them anyway!
Here is my prayer for boldness:
Only a secure Pastor can pray that God’s people break from total dependence on them. The veil of the temple was ripped with Jesus' sacrifice and personal dependence on someone other than God replaces one veil with another.
As a Pastor, I declare you give us way too much power and influence over your walk with Jesus! Although our gifting is different, you have as much access to the Throne of God as do we.
We are more responsible to God, but certainly not more precious.
As hard as it is to believe, many don’t desire those who follow them become bold at all. The bolder God’s people become, the less dependent they are on the pastor. This will contribute to an already insecure man’s feelings of worthlessness.
I don’t take any pleasure in saying this either.
However, church pastors are the most insecure man I’ve ever come across. I do not include myself among these sorts, however. Not because I am better, God forbid! Only that I have never struggled with self-esteem issues.
I love myself; I love who God made me, and I don’t compare myself to other people. However, many of my brethren do. I struggle in other areas where even insecure Pastors don’t.
We all have our ‘things.’
Further, in praying for boldness, pray that your pastor becomes so as well. They are not as brave, fearless, and secure as they present themselves. Having been around these men for years, they are just as good at wearing false faces as anyone else.
If you are a pastor praying for the boldness of God’s people to go forward, God bless you! You are one of the few.
Praying for Repentance and Transparency
This is among the most desperately needed prayers in the church. From my vantage point, as an African American pastor, no body of believers more needs transparency than the Black church.
We have gotten used to pretending to be one thing on Sunday yet being something much different throughout the week. Especially with respect to older Black pastors, getting them to be transparent goes against everything they’ve been taught.
In their worlds, the pastor is better than everyone else and thus, should hide any flaws from the eyes of God’s people. That is an interesting approach because Jesus’s disciples, and later apostles, certainly didn’t practice such secrecy.
We know that His greatest apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, openly confessed his shortcomings to the churches he led. However, since the history of the Black preacher has been nothing less than being considered a ‘prince of the church,’ most act accordingly.
When I became a church leader, nothing grieved me more than this air of false belief. I understood the value of being transparent long before becoming a church leader, however.
I practice this principle today, and it has endeared me to many Black churchgoers.
Let us, again, pray:
Since it doesn’t stick with the ‘Superman’ façade put forth for the last 200 years, it has made me a reproach to other Black church members, nevertheless. Truth hurts the hearer often and causes reproach to the teller.
Those who pray a prayer of transparency, can expect many to respond affirmatively. There are things that these prayers release in people’s lives that must not be underestimated.
For instance, too many of God’s people carry around shame that no longer belongs to them.
When they are transparent with others, as the Bible tells us to be, those secrets can no longer be used as weapons of shame by the devil. Pray in transparency over the congregation, and/or over your pastor, and watch a release which will shift your circumstance.
Pleading Forgiveness for Those We’ve Hurt Unnecessarily
One of the greatest pastoral prayers I offer is to receive forgiveness for those I’ve unnecessarily hurt. Notice I did not say ‘hurt,’ in general.
Preaching is about hurting people’s feelings and most of all, understanding the preacher is preaching to himself as well.
There is an air of entitlement with most pastors I have come across. I have found the false façade of humility to be largely a myth. We are fooled by soft speech, bowed heads, and seemingly humble hearts.
Eighty percent (80%) of the time, what you see as humility is anything but. Nevertheless, in our weakness and sinful conduct, we have hurt people. One way to release that spirit of hurt is to speak it out into the atmosphere.
There were times when we say things that are not of God, it hurts someone, and we never know someone was hurt. Those people simply disappear, never return, and we are left wondering what happened.
We, whether we know we hurt them or not, are going to give an account to God according to Scripture. However, my goal is to pray over the congregation, and that hurt not only be released, but leads to healing in that relationship.
Call on His Name:
Pastoral prayers can be healing for the entire body. Those who are bold enough to pray over their pastors are breed of their own. Whatever you came here looking for, the one thing I hope you take away is that prayer profoundly changes things.
When I was a child, I heard this often but didn’t understand what it meant. It means that when I speak certain things out into the atmosphere, they become real to me. When they become real to me, God will understand of my sincerity.
A pastoral prayer is always relative and called for. Don’t neglect so great a gift and remain silent.