Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)

Yesterday we prayed that our leaders (both presently and in the future) would chosen based on biblical qualifications. Today we want to pray for our leaders and the weight of responsibility that they bear as those who keep watch over souls and will give an account for them. The New Testament scholar I. Howard Marshall wrote that “the heart of a pastor … cannot be completely happy so long as some of those for whom he feels responsible are not experiencing the full blessings of the gospel.” Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor in the D.C. area, said recently that “the pastor’s greatest joy [is] a holy people.”

Pray today for the leaders of our church, that their role and responsibility would not be burdensome, and would be undertaken with joy and not with grief. Pray that those of us in their care would experience the full blessings of the gospel and be a holy people. Pray that our leaders, in their exercise of oversight and authority, would not be “lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock” (1 Pet. 5:3). Pray that they would “be on guard for [themselves] and for all the flock” (Acts 20:28).