I know from personal experience that the soft voice beckoning pastors to pray for their flocks grows louder when others are involved and you are accountable to them. I will gladly admit I would falter in this task even more and allow other demanding tasks of my ministry to squeeze out prayer if I didn’t have the accountability of other pastors.
Pray with the pastors and leaders of your church.
I recommend that you schedule monthly, even weekly times, for you to gather with other pastors, deacons, or other leaders in the church to pray for the flock. Have time when you come together and all you do is pray for the needs of people, no other agendas, just prayer. You can start with a simple 20-30 minute time early in the morning before work or school. Pick a time and call your leaders and church to make it a priority. You will learn quickly who is really burdened to gather with others to pray.
Another important way to facilitate praying for the flock with others is to use the meetings you already have scheduled. Carve out the first ten to fifteen minutes of the meeting for prayer. Pastors’ meeting, deacons’ meetings, small groups, pastoral interns’ meetings, staff meetings, committee meetings all are great opportunities to seize. Do more than just an opening prayer of a few minutes. Involve others, pray for specific needs, and dedicate a longer time to interceding for the church.
At our church, the pastors meet together for a four hour pastor’s meeting once a month on Sunday afternoons. We met yesterday. We use half of that time to go through the prayer guide mentioned earlier and pray for different people on the list. There are always more church issues that need to be discussed, and it has been tempting to use some of this precious meeting time for business discussions. But I am grateful for the accountability of our other pastors who won’t allow me to squeeze out that time. They share the same burden I have to give regular time to pray for our flock.
Pray with the pastors of other churches.
Fellowship and association with other pastors outside your own local church is essential for many reasons. Pastors need friendship. Pastors need wisdom and counsel from those outside their church to get another perspective. Pastors need to collaborate ministry efforts with other pastors and churches to utilize resources and partner together to reach the lost for Christ. However, another important reason for pastoral fellowship is the unique way God works when pastors come together from different churches and ministries to pray together for their individual flocks.
We started a pastoral fellowship in our city several years ago for many of these reasons. We have over one hundred pastors involved in this group that meets every other month. One of the most meaningful meetings we had was when we fasted from our typical lunch and teaching time and just prayed together for a couple of hours. Each pastor brought great burdens from their own congregations to request prayer from their brothers. It is a special thing to hear another pastor pray for the burdens of another pastor for only pastors know the full weight of those burdens and what it is like to carry them.
Pastors, pray for your flock with other pastors and leaders in your own church as well as other local churches around you. You will find God will stir your soul uniquely through the joint intercession of this band of brothers.