“The saying is trustworthy. If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.”
(1 Timothy 3:1)
And then what happens right after this in First Timothy chapter three is Paul lists out the qualifications of an overseer, or an elder, or a pastor. So these are words that are used interchangeably in the New Testament, pastors, elders, overseers, those whom God has entrusted with the responsibility to shepherd his people under his shepherding care. So we are under-shepherds, those of us who are pastors, elders, overseers in the church, that we have been entrusted by Jesus, the chief shepherd, with a responsibility to care for the people in local churches that he has entrusted us to lead.
Paul tells Timothy that there are qualifications to be a pastor. Let’s pray that these characteristics will be true of our pastors in Christ’s church.
And so what I want to do is I want to lead us just to pray. So from First Timothy chapter three, verse two all the way down to seven we see these qualifications and I want to lead us to pray these things for pastors, elders, overseers. So some of you listening to this may be a pastor, elder, overseer in your church and so this would be something you pray not just for yourself but for others. And for those who may not be pastors, elders, overseers in your local church, that this would be a guide straight from the word to how to pray for your pastor, pastors, elders, the overseers in your church.
And as we pray these things for those who lead us, so think not just, “Okay, this is what a pastor, elder, overseer must be in order to become a pastor, elder, overseer.” So yes, that’s the primary intent of this passage. At the same time, let this passage lead us to pray that pastors, elders, overseers, would continue to be these things.
So First Timothy, chapter three, let’s just straight pray the word, verses two through seven. “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach.” God, we pray for pastors, elders, overseers to be above reproach, blameless in holiness, pure, not open to the charge of wrongdoing because they are watching their lives and doctrine closely. “The husbands of one wife,” God, may pastors, elders, overseers be absolutely, totally devoted to their wives, and loving their wives, and caring for, and serving, and laying down their lives for their wives in ways that are an example to every husband in the church. “Sober-minded,” we pray that they would be sober-minded, that they would have a solemnity, and seriousness, and self-control that governs their minds, hearts and lives. “Self-controlled, respectable,” may they be “hospitable, able to teach” your word and faithfully teaching your word. May they only teach your word, not their thoughts.
“Not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle,” we pray for gentleness in pastors, elders, overseers that overcomes anger, particularly unrighteous anger or violence, that they would not be quarrelsome, but they would be humbly uniting your people, that they would not love money, that they would spurn the pleasures and possessions of this world to live for what matters, to give sacrificially, that they would manage their households well with all dignity, keeping their children submissive.
Oh, God, we pray that you would help them to lead their households well and you would cause their children to flourish in you in that household. God, we pray for that. We pray for their families, for your protection of their families in every way, that they might flourish under the leadership of pastors, elders, and overseers in their homes, that they might not be recent converts or they “may become puffed up with conceit and fall in the condemnation of the devil.” God, we pray that pastors, elders, overseers would increasingly mature in their faith and as they grow in the likeness of Christ, that they would grow in humility, that they would not be puffed up with conceit, that they would be well thought of by outsiders.
God, we pray for favor among those in the community, those who don’t know Christ, God, that people in our communities would see pastors, elders, overseers in the church and be drawn to Christ by what they see so that pastors, elders, and overseers may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. God, we pray that you would keep pastors, elders, overseers from all the snares that the devil would like to use to entrap them. God, we pray all of these things for pastors, elders, overseers in our churches so that the church would see in pastors, elders, overseers, a faithful representation of you, Jesus, the chief shepherd of our souls and the leader of our churches.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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