I admit, I didn't actually research the statistics in the above image. However, I do recall seeing some similar statistics in reading other articles, so I'm going to assume these are fairly correct. And, fairly discouraging.
I couldn't even imagine being a pastor. On the one hand, they get the privilege of teaching God's Word and spreading the Gospel. They get to comfort the sick and help rebuild marriages. They get to bring people to God by bringing God to people. They get to be a shepherd for God's people. But, they also get to deal with Church politics, and have to try to avoid stepping on people's toes. They don't have complete authority over their church. And they're constantly being watched to make sure they're good role models. They have to appeal to all age groups from all walks of life. They have to try to remain relevant in a field where sometimes it seems the field itself is no longer relevant. They're used as a pillow to cry on and wall to beat on.
But through everything they go through, and no matter how many times they get abused, accused and betrayed, they continue to pray for us. They pray for our loved ones whom are sick. They pray for us when we're in need. They pray along with us for forgiveness and for the continued blessing of God's grace and love. They teach us to pray. They teach us to love.
We often see them as more than human. We may even see them as sinless, or close to it. We see them as having God in their back pocket, a luxury which should give them more blessings and the answers to all of our problems. This is quite the image they are forced to live up to. These are the expectations we want them to meet.
But, they are still human, with human feelings and human problems. Yes, they have been called on by God to do His work. But this doesn't make them immune to hardship. And it doesn't mean they don't need prayer as well. In fact, they need prayer as much, if not more so, than the rest of us.
They need our prayers that they remain healthy, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
They need our prayers that their families remain healthy; and that their marriages remains strong.
They need our prayers that they are able to continue hearing God, and God's call to them, so that they can continue to be strong in their faith and help teach us how to remain strong in Christ.
They need our prayers that the wisdom bestowed upon them continues to be there and that they continue to be able to relay this Godly wisdom to us.
They need our prayers for fellowship and good friends, that they should always have those who love and care for them; that they always have someone to turn to when they need someone to cry to or someone to vent to or just someone to laugh with.
They need our prayers that they continue to see the blessings in their lives.
They need our prayers that they do not suffer or fall prey to the spiritual and physical attacks of our world or Satan.
They need our prayers that they continue to be strong in the Gospel, and that they are able to speak that Gospel with hope, love, courage and strength to all of us who need to hear it.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please continue to feed the wonderful pastors in my life - give them the strength and wisdom they need to continue tending Your flock. Continue to bless them, and their loved ones, and deliver them from the attacks they face on their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives. Lift them up, as they continue to lift up us. Allow Your Holy Spirit to live within them, and shine through them.
In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ,