Today's thought may seem self-serving but believe me, it is very much for your blessing as well. Every spiritual leader in your life, your pastors, mentors, teachers all are in need of your prayers to effectively bless, strengthen and encourage you. Paul challenges the church with this thought with 6 key needs in prayer.
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. Romans 15:30-32
Paul was one of the most powerful and effective teachers, apostles, and pastors who ever lived and he requested this support from the church in Rome. He begins by saying "strive" with him. This word is a compound word meaning to stand with while agonizing in warfare or fighting an intense battle. He is asking that you recognize the battle your leader is in daily and support them in it, through prayer. Just as in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked his disciples to stand with him, we need you to stand with your leaders.
Second, he asked for prayer to be "delivered from those who do not believe." Paul had battled many both outside and inside the church who were seeking to hurt him or the ministry through lies, gossip, stirring trouble, rebellion and other things. Leaders today battle this on a daily basis both inside and outside the church. If the devil can resist or frustrate a leader, he can defeat a move of God and hurt your growth and ministry.
Third, "service be acceptable" this word means ministry. The desire of every spiritual leader's heart is that everyone would be open to receive what the Holy Spirit has placed on his/her heart for the people. They have fought through by prayer, fasting, and intense study, to hear specifically what God would say but if the people are not open or are distracted they miss the "word of the Lord" for them!
Fourth, "come with joy" thousands of ministers leave the ministry yearly because of the frustration. They pour their lives into people only to have them disregard their counsel or leave the church or ministry. The heartbreak of watching people self-destruct by their own choosing or the short-sightedness that causes shipwreck in the long run. Part of the fruit of the Spirit is joy, and for leaders it is a must, daily, to live in joy. Paul's heart and every leader's heart are to minister out of joy!
Fifth, Paul's challenge for prayer is "the will of God." Every leader's heart's cry is to always present God's plan, purpose, and design, which is what this word "will" means. It is a dangerous thing to preach or teach our own desires rather than God's. Pray for your leaders that they always have God's wisdom and heart for every situation.
Last, Paul asked for prayer for "refreshing." This is a compound word that Paul is stressing just like everyone else, your spiritual leaders need times of refreshing, specifically a time of calm, soothing, ministry to the body, mind, and spirit by others. Everyday all day long most of your leaders are handling your problems, and other people's problems either personally or in prayer. Most people see the leader through their teaching/preaching ministry but for most of us that is a very small portion of what is done in ministry.
A true spiritual leader is generally on-call 24/7. They need your prayers, and if I can be selfish the pastors, elders, and leaders of our church and I, all need this type of prayer. Thank you in advance for praying this way for all the spiritual leaders in our world! It is for your benefit to have healthy refreshed spiritual leaders.