Another vital duty owed to the pastor is Earnest Prayer

How often and how earnestly did the great apostle of the Gentiles repeat that sentence, which contained at once the authority of a command and the tenderness of a petition--"Brethren, pray for us." In another place, he ascribes his deliverance and preservation to the prayers of the churches--"You also helping together by prayer for us" (2 Corinthians 1:11). Surely, then, if this illustrious man was dependent upon, and indebted to the prayers of Christians, how much more so the ordinary ministers of Christ! Pray, then, for your ministers; for the increase of their intellectual attainments, spiritual qualifications, and ministerial success. Pray for them in your private approaches to the throne of grace; pray for them at the family altar; and thus teach your guests and children to respect and love them. Reasons both numerous and cogent enforce this duty. It is enjoined by divine authority. It is due to the arduous nature of their employment. Little do our churches know the number and magnitude of our temptations, discouragements, difficulties, and trials. 'Tis not a cause of small import The pastor's care demands, But what might fill an angel's heart, And filled a Savior's hands. Our office is no bed of down or of roses, on which the indolent may repose with careless indifference, or uninterrupted slumbers. Far, very far from it. Cares of oppressive weight; anxieties which can be known only by experience; labors of a mental kind almost too strong and incessant for the powers of mind to sustain, fall to our lot, and demand the prayerful sympathy of our flocks. And then, as another claim for our people's prayers, we might urge the consideration of their own interest, which is identified with all our efforts. We are to our people just what God makes us, and no more; and he is willing to make us almost what they ask. A Regard to their own spiritual profit, if nothing else, should induce them to bear us much on their hearts before the throne of divine grace. Prayer is a means of assisting a minister within the reach of all. They who can do nothing more, can pray. The sick, who cannot encourage their minister by their hearts in their lonely chamber: the poor, who cannot add to his temporal comfort by pecuniary donations, can supplicate their God "to supply all his needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19): the timid, who cannot approach to offer him the tribute of their gratitude, can pour their praises into the ear of Jehovah, and entreat him still to encourage the soul of his servant: the ignorant, who cannot hope to add one idea to the stock of his knowledge, can place him by prayer before the fountain of celestial radiance: even the dying, who can no longer busy themselves as aforetime for his interests, can gather up their remaining strength, and employ it in the way of prayer for their pastor. Prayer, if it be sincere, always increase our affection for its object. We never feel even our dearest friends to be so dear, as when we have commended them to the goodness of God. It is the best extinguisher of enmity, and the best fuel for the flame of love. If some professing Christians were to take from the time they spend in praising their ministers, and others from that which they employ in blaming them, the former would find still more cause for admiration, and the latter far less reason for censure. Therefore, "brethren, pray for us." óJohn Angell James