Pray for Us (Hebrews 13:18-19)

Hebrews 13:18-19, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.”

A Prayer Request

In Hebrews 13:17, the author instructed his readers to obey and submit to their leaders. In verse eighteen, he asks them to pray for them, including him, one of their leaders. Believers are welcome into God’s presence to pray because of Christ (Heb. 4:14-16). It is our privilege and honor to pray for one another and our leaders.

We should not take this request lightly. Church leaders need much prayer. They are on the front lines of a spiritual war fighting for your soul (Heb. 13:17). How can you specifically pray for your pastor?

  1. Pray for his personal devotional life. Your pastor is a child of God first and foremost. Pray that he will live from his identity of being in Christ and not claim pastor as his identity. Pray for his personal Bible reading, meditation, memorization, and prayer.
  2. Pray for his holiness. As your pastor grows in holiness, he will grow in shepherding your soul.
  3. Pray for his marriage. If your pastor is married, pray for him and his wife. Pray that he would be a husband that honors Christ (Eph. 5:25-32) and that he would understand his wife is his primary ministry and not the church. Pray that you would remember that his wife is his primary ministry.
  4. Pray for his children. Your pastor’s wife and children are his most important ministry. His faithfulness in the ministry is vital for his ministry to you.

Do what you need to do to pray often for the spiritual leaders in your life. They are targeted by our enemy Satan in a way other Christian people are not. They need your prayers.

The Reason for the Request

Why does the author ask them to pray for their leaders?

The reason for the request for prayer is, “we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” Remember, this comes on the heels of the instruction to submit and obey leaders. The author is confident that the leaders have a clear conscience and desire to act honorably in all things. The author and the other church leaders have lived in a manner worthy of the gospel (Phil. 1:27). Their lives have adorned the gospel, and because of that, they have a clean conscience and have acted honorably.

This is not the first time the conscience has been mentioned in Hebrews. In 9:14, we read, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Christ’s atonement objectively dealt with our conscience when we were forgiven. Good conscience here “reflects the subjective transformation God’s grace produces in believers’ motivations and desires over time.” (Dennis Johnson, ESV Expository Commentary).

Our conscience is cleansed through Christ’s atonement, and in our sanctification, is it being transformed according to Scripture. Because of Christ, we can have a clean conscience before God and man.

An Urgent Request

The request for prayer was also urgent. He urged them to pray more earnestly so that he may be restored to them sooner.

For one reason or another, he was separated from them. He longed to be with them. He ministered to them before face-to-face, and he wants to be with them again.

We see the heart of a pastor here. The Apostle John expresses this desire well, “Though I have much tow rite to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete” (2 Jn. 1:12). A letter is nice, but we all know it is better to be with the one you love. Many pastors have experienced this separation from the flock God has placed under their care. The pandemic restrictions in many places have pastors longing to be back with their people. We should pray for them that they can be restored soon.

If you find yourself in a situation this year where your church cannot meet, or you are separated from one another, pray urgently that you would be restored. Paul asked Philemon to pray similarly, “I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.” (Philemon 1:22)

This word restore means to restore something to its former place. In many ways, he is asking them to pray urgently for their situation to be restored to “the way it used to be.” In this case, that is a good way to think. The church’s fellowship and the relationship of the pastor and his flock are that special, that intimate, that we should desire to be restored to it quickly when it’s broken.

What application should you make from these verses?

  1. If you have not been praying for your church leaders, start today.
  2. If you have been praying for them, persevere in it.

You can use Hebrews 13:18-19 as the content for your prayers for your pastor. Pray that he would have a clear conscience and that he would desire to live in a way that adorns the gospel and that he would act on that desire.

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