January 11: Pray for Your Pastor!

Pray for the Man Who Prays for You

It was on this day, January 11th, in 1818, that the Rev. John Mathews brought a sermon at the ordination of Wells Andrews. The full title of the sermon:—

The Duties of the Pastoral Office: A Sermon, delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, at the Ordination of Wells Andrews, January 11, 1818, before the Presbytery of Winchester. (Alexandria: Printed by Corse & Rounsavell, 1818)

Time and history have erased our recollections of who these men were, but the sermon has been preserved and is available to us today, for how we may profit from it. The sermon concludes with a fine exhortation to the congregation to pray for their pastor. It is that portion that we reproduce here today. For those who may want to read the whole of this sermon, please click here. But for now, we will simply present the conclusion to the sermon offered that day by Rev. Mathews.

And having charged the newly ordained pastor, Rev. Mathews turned to charge the congregation:—

It was mentioned that your pious people would help you with their prayers : shall we be permitted to ask the members of this congregation, is this intimation true? Shall we let it remain for the support and encouragement of your pastor, or shall we recall the promise, and tell him, that if he is determined to undertake the duties of this office, he must not expect the assistance of your prayers? Do not your hearts with all the warmth of pious affection, reply—NO! Let it remain : we will verify the promise : we will pray for him. We see the arduous task, the numerous and difficult duties he is about to undertake on our account, and we will support him with our prayers. Be it so : the promise shall not be recalled. God is witness to the pledge you have given.

But will you not support and encourage him by all other means in your power? Parents, will you not aid him by your instructions, your example, by the prudent exercise of your parental authority in training up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; in teaching them to love and reverence religion?

Beloved youth, what encouragement will you give? Will you embrace religion, become the disciples of Jesus Christ, dedicate yourselves to the service of God in the morning of life, and thus animate the heart of your pastor with the precious hope that when your fathers and mothers are laid in the grave, you will be ready, and willing to fill their places in the church, and support the worship of God? or will you, neglecting religion, pursue the pleasures and amusements of the world, and thus deprive him of this hope?

Dear little children, you are interested in the transactions of this day. When you see us lay our hands on the head of this man, and pray for him, remember that we are then appointing him to teach you the knowledge of God and religion. Wherever you see him then say to yourselves—this is the man who is to pray for us, and teach us the way to heaven : There may you, your parents, and your pastor finally meet, and spend eternity in ascribing salvation, and glory, and honor to God and the Lamb. Amen.

Words to Live By:
And with that, we are reminded to pray for those who are in authority over us. Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2 are often taken to apply largely to magistrates or those in civil authority. But how much more should we pray for those in spiritual authority over us?

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;” – (1 Timothy 2:1-3)


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