Thursday, January 5, 2017

Beginning the New Year: Pray for your pastor

Jeremiah 1:4-8
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7 But the Lord said to me,
"Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.”

Dear Lord,
Thank you for calling me to be a pastor.
I heard your call when I was 15.
I've often identified with Jeremiah being "just a boy".

Your call on my life
to be a pastor...
Serving God's people;
Proclaiming the Good News;
Telling the old, old story;
Making a positive difference 
in the lives of others and 
in the life of the community 
for Christ's sake
is all I've ever wanted to do.
It's wonderful calling;

but it's a terrible job...
Jeremiah also said:
O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me.
If I say, “I will not mention God, or speak any more in the Lord's name,”
then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones;I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. -- Jeremiah 20:7,9
I identified wholly with the thoughts 
shared by a church leadership blog: 
My work is often misunderstood:
the joke of working only 1 hour a week stings.
I work many many hours.
Up early and late to pray with and for members.
On call 24/7, even on vacation and now worse with cell phones.
Marrying and burying people is emotionally difficult.
Being a pastor is a lonely position
Daily I hear constant criticism and varying opinions.
I struggle with being a workaholic and perfectionist.
It is challenging for me to keep my identity 
solely rooted in God and not in the success of the church.
I certainly don't have all the answers.
And there are days that I want to quit.

And yet, what else can I do??
I have 12 years of graduate education in theology and Bible...

So Lord,
I depend on you daily,
and I pray for pastors
those who have heard your voice,
those who doubt your presence, 
those who worry and stress,
those who care for others...
I pray for pastors.
Renew your Spirit in us
that we may serve you and your people
with energy,
and love.

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