In case you didn't know, I am a pastor's wife. Have been for a whole 5 years now. My husband and I have been married for 7 years, but for the first 2 he was a part-time chaplain while a student in seminary. In 2 weeks we'll celebrate 5 years at our church in Northeast Texas. What an incredibly humbling, frustrating at times, completely rewarding and exciting experience it's been so far.
I didn't ask for this 'role.' In fact, I told The Lord when I was in college that I didn't want to be a pastor's wife, and I certainly didn't want to serve in an American church. (I don't really suggest telling the Creator of the Universe what you will and won't do.) My plan was to serve overseas. I have such a heart for the nations. I miss living in another country. But then, I met this boy from southern Arkansas, and God said, "Guess what?? I'm in charge, and My plan for your life is so much greater than any you could ever think up. Just trust Me and see where it takes you." And in 2010, I found myself unpacking all of our belongings in a church parsonage in tiny town Texas (I also once said I'd never live in Texas again after college...there's that dangerous "never" word again). On a few occasions (ok, probably more than a few during the first year), I thought, "So this is what You had in mind??" It was definitely an adjustment, but I wouldn't trade it for the world now. God has been so faithful to show Daniel and me that He can and will use us right here to impact the world if we'll just be obedient. And He has. I could tell you story after story of ways people from our church and small town are spreading the message of Christ to people around the globe. However, that's a post for another time.
Back to my original question. Do you pray for your pastor and his family? Why do I ask? Because simply put, we need it! I'm pretty confident in saying that any pastor and his wife covets your prayers. I look back on when I wasn't a pastor's wife, and I'm ashamed at how little I prayed for my pastor and his family.
Let me be very clear. I am in no way trying to elevate your pastor and say he and his family are better than you or have a more "direct line to God." Because of Jesus Christ, we all have the SAME access to the Father! Praise God we can approach Him with confidence knowing He hears us when we pray! I am saying, though, that we have an enemy who is alive and very active, and he absolutely abhors everything your pastor is doing to bring glory to the Father. Satan cannot have believers as his own, so instead he tries every scheme he can come up with to render them useless. Clearly since pastors are vocationally focused on spreading the Gospel and discipling those who choose to follow, the enemy is going to spend some focused time attacking them and their family. I have seen this over and over in the past 5 years. Attacks can come in all forms - sickness, nightmares for children, distractions, temptations to sin, dissension in the church body, etc. The one I've noticed most in my life recently is discouragement.
Let me give you an example. My husband and I have 4 children ages 5, 3, 1 and 6-weeks. The older two are biological, and the younger two are foster children we hope to adopt one day. To say our house is a bit wild at times is an understatement! But, we see God's hand in our family and know this is His plan for us. Have you ever woken up on a Sunday morning and spent focused time praying for your pastor and his family? Let me just be completely honest and say that I hate Sunday mornings. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love gathering with our church family and worshipping our Lord together at 11 am every Sunday morning. It's what occurs in our home from about 6:30 am until we head out the door that I dread every week. My husband heads to the office between 7:30 and 8 each Sunday morning, so once he leaves, there I am by myself, outnumbered by 4 little ones. And the enemy goes to town. This past Sunday was probably the worst I've experienced so far. Some of it I brought on myself, like deciding to bathe 3 of the 4 kids before church because I didn't get to the night before (Dumb! Just dumb! I learned my lesson, and all 4 children went to bed clean tonight!). But I could clearly feel the fiery darts Paul refers to being hurled at me several times that morning. At one point, I was standing in my kitchen crying, watching the time quickly tick by and trying to figure out how in the world I could get us all to church before 11, when I thought, "I'm just not even going to go this morning. I'll use the (at the time) 5-week-old as an excuse. I'm going to all this trouble to get ready for 1 hour of my life, and I'm just so tired!" And y'all, The Lord in that moment said so clearly, "And am I worth it??" I about fell on the floor. His voice was so clear that I responded out loud, "Yes, Lord! Of course You're worth it!" And we walked out the door at 10:48 am.
I tell you this to give you just a small glimpse of what a pastor's family may be experiencing. There are so many more examples I could share, but my main desire was just to beg for you to please take time to lift up your church leaders and their families in prayer. My husband's a pastor, so that's the only experience I have to share from, but I know all other minister's and their families need just as much interceding! A great place to start is in Ephesians 6, where Paul talks about putting on the full armor of God. I can guarantee you that before I roll out of my bed tomorrow morning, I will be putting on that armor and asking The Lord to protect me and my family! He is faithful, and He will do it, but we must ask! As you're preparing for church tomorrow morning, will you take just a minute and bring your church staff and their families before the Father? I know they will be eternally grateful, and I promise you will see The Lord move in a new way in your church if you do.
And on behalf of the Bramlett clan, I just want to say in advance, THANK YOU! We could not keep on keeping on if it weren't for the prayers and encouragement of the saints! May God be glorified as we seek to serve and honor Him in all we do!