July 18, 2012

Pastor to the Pastor

In our first year of ministry, my friend Kelly, also a minister's wife, invited me over to her house to hang out. I arrived just as her young son's naptime commenced and sat at the table while she scurried around the kitchen pulling together a light lunch for the two of us. Setting the blue and white dishes on the table, she settled in across from me and, together, we bowed our heads. I expected the usual short blessing, but my dear sweet friend unknowingly taught me a lesson instead. Kelly prayed for our husbands, deep in their work at midday, that they would serve the Lord with integrity and purity. She prayed for wisdom, discernment, and leadership, and she prayed that they would flee temptation. As she prayed, I envisioned my husband sitting in his office, perhaps counseling a student or making decisions with his leadership team that would affect hundreds. I could practically feel the weight of his work and, even more, I felt the essentialness, the necessity, of my prayers for him. As I listened to her pray, my heart joined hers in requesting the same for our husbands, and I vowed to be a constant support to him through prayer.
At our very first meeting as a church plant in Charlottesville, introductions were made and, following behind my husband and Bill, the other pastor, I felt that I should somehow introduce my role in the church. Being an inexperienced church planting wife, I really still had no idea what to expect or how I might participate in the work. I said, quite in passing actually, "I'm the Pastor to the Pastor." Everyone laughed, but what I meant was that I primarily minister to Kyle and to our family and that his well being and effectiveness is my most important concern.

I continue to be the Pastor to the Pastor, and my ministry is more important than ever. I have discovered, too, that the most effective, most helpful way I can come alongside my husband in his ministry is to pray for him everyday. And not just to pray generalities, but to pray specifically, just like Kelly modeled for me in those early years.

Sometimes, to be frank, I grow lax in my ministry to Kyle. I become numb to the spiritual forces at play around us. And then suddenly I am jolted back to reality by circumstances or occurrences in the church that remind me what a great weight my husband is carrying. In addition, even as he willingly takes responsibility for the flock, he doesn't always know what to do, he questions himself and whether God is using him, and he certainly grows weary. He needs my ministry to him.

Like Aaron, I can be the arm-holder, through prayer, who helps my husband continue on. This is a vital ministry, I know, because I may be the only one who can pray knowingly and specifically for my husband.

My ministry to my husband is not only to pray for him but to tell him that I'm praying for him, and, even more so, to treat him with the same kind of purposeful care that specific prayer requires.

My ministry as the Pastor to the Pastor is one of the ways I fulfill Proverbs 31:11-12: "The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."

What do you specifically pray for your husband? How do you minister to him as the Pastor to the Pastor?

Related links:

Sacred Influence, a wonderful book about how wives influence their husbands

Praying For Your Husband

The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Pastor

Praying For Your Pastor

Praying For Your Pastor's Wife