Thursday, 22 January 2015





A Prayer For Pastors.

ALMIGHTY God, we pray thee for all the pastors of thy church. May they preach thy word with fidelity, firmness and humility. May they labour not in vain, to establish the indispensable obligation of the duties enjoined by our holy religion, and to make manifest their beauty and excellence. Enable them to set forth the motives which bind us to obey thee ; the helps which are offered ; and the rewards which await us.

May they, as well by their example as by their preaching, prepare for thee a peculiar people, zealous of good works, Defend them, O Lord  under the shadow of thy wings ; and guard them from the temptations of the world, and the devices of their spiritual enemies. Grant that they shun not to declare all the counsel of God ; and that, having testified the Gospel of thy grace, they may finish their course with joy, and the ministry which they have received of the Lord Jesus.

Hear us, O God, we beseech thee, for the sake of thy Son, our Saviour.   Amen.

The Liturgy, or Forms of Divine Service, of the French Protestant Church (1853)



A Possible Modernised Version:

ALMIGHTY God, we pray to you for all the pastors of your church.

May they preach your word with faithfulness, decisiveness and humility.  May they successfully strive to establish the indispensable obligation of the duties of the Christian faith, and to make plain their beauty and excellence. Enable them to set forth the motives which oblige us to obey you ; the helps which are offered ; and the rewards which await us.

May they, as much by their example as by their preaching, prepare for you a people of your choosing, zealous to do good deeds.

Defend them, O Lord, under the shadow of your wings ; and guard them from the temptations of the world, and the schemes of their spiritual enemies.

Grant that they will not fail to declare all the counsel of God ; and that, having testified to the Gospel of your grace, they may finish their race with joy, and fulfil the ministry which they have received from the Lord Jesus.

Hear us, O God, we urgently  implore, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour.   Amen.


How different from the shallowness of the modern prayer, “Lord, bless the pastor.” 

This prayer is detailed and specific. It speaks of the preaching work of the pastor and asks, not that it be entertaining and amusing, but that it be done with “faithfulness, decisiveness and humility”.  The ethical and spiritual imperatives of the faith are to be set forth in their preaching, not as duties begrudgingly entered into but as things of “beauty and excellence”. The pastor is to clearly preach gospel motives for obedience and the aids to sanctification provided by the Spirit.  He is to set forward the rewards for obedience, as Gospel encouragements to faithful living.

The pastor is to be a personal embodiment of that which he preaches; not remote from the flock but someone so well known by them that his life can be a godly example to them. He will face great opposition from the Devil and the temptations of the world and his own fallen nature, therefore needs to be protected by God sustaining grace. 


In effect, this prayer exhibits a whole pastoral theology.