Praying for a New Pastor in Light of the Lord’s Prayer

This was originally published in our state Baptist paper back in 2005. I’m currently discussing Martin Luther’s booklet, A Simple Way to Pray, with some colleagues and the discussion of praying through the Lord’s Prayer reminded me of this.

One of the most important decisions a church makes is the calling of a new pastor.  The ramifications of this decision are large and the task is arduous- seeking capable candidates often by sifting through piles of resumes, trying to ascertain the character, calling and giftedness of a man from a piece of paper.  As anyone who has ever served on a pastor search committee can attest, this is hard, draining, often soul-wrenching work.  In this situation, we are reminded of our need to pray for God’s direction.  As I have worked with churches in this process I have turned to our Lord’s model prayer (Matt 6:9-13) for guidance for a church in praying for a new pastor.  There are many things to pray, but Jesus gave us this prayer to help us pray in line with biblical values.  What follows are some meditations on how we can pray each petition of the Lord’s Prayer in the specific circumstance of searching for a new pastor. I offer them in hope that they may be of benefit to those in this situation.

Our Father

  • We come to a God who is our father.  Thus, He bids us ask believing that He will meet our need (Matt 7:7-11)
  •  God desires to give you a good pastor.
  • Since God is sovereign He has a man for you.
  • So we must come seeking to discern His will.

Hallowed Be Thy Name (May Your Name be regarded as holy)

  • Give us a man who will hold before us the holiness of God.
  • Give us a man who is concerned with the glory of God, who yearns for others to encounter and reckon with the awesomeness of God.
  •  Deliver us from any man who has small thoughts of God.
  • Give us a God-centered, God-saturated man.  Not someone who will simply entertain us with cute stories, self-help sessions and other drivel; but someone who from the depths of his own wonderment will point us to the glory, majesty and awesomeness of God!

Thy Kingdom Come

  • Give us a kingdom man- a man who is zealously committed to the advancement of God’s kingdom but has no interest in the building of a personal kingdom, a man who will see this pastorate as his outpost in the kingdom not a stepping stone in a career.
  • Give us a man whose ambition, like Paul’s, is to be pleasing to God, to seek first the kingdom of God without a care about whether it is noticed by denominational offices or the media.
  • Give us a man who submits himself to the reign of God, and, then, shows us how to live in submission to the King in our various vocations.
  • In our search process help us not to be concerned with prestige or the opinions of man but only the advancement of your kingdom.

Thy Will Be Done

  • We lay aside our presuppositions, plans and desires and seek to take up a Biblical view of what we need and what a pastor should be.
  • Direct our committee in their searching and the candidate and the congregation as we make decisions.  Guide us and then intervene in whatever way necessary to keep us on track.

Give us this Day Our Daily Bread

  • We need the bread of life, the spiritual nourishment of your word preached.
  • Meet our needs by giving us a man of God who will break open the word of life and feed our souls.

Forgive us our Sins as we Forgive those who sin against us

  • Forgive our faults in this whole process: the ways in which we limit You and fail to trust you.  Forgive us for feeling that You are as uncertain and confused as we are.  Forgive us for doubting your care and provision.  Forgive us for our impatience.  Forgive us for grasping to our own agendas rather than seeking Your will.  Forgive us for failing to believe that you as Sovereign Lord have this together and are working this out to Your glory and our good.  We believe; help our unbelief.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

  • Protect us from candidates who are doctrinally unsound, who lack the conviction and courage to stand on your word and rebuke us when necessary, from those who lack character and purity.
  • Protect us from any divisiveness in this period


  1. Dear Vickie,
    I am glad this has been helpful to you. That is very encouraging to me. May the Lord guide your church to a faithful godly pastor.

  2. Mr. Van Neste,

    I am currently serving on the search committee for a new senior pastor at Harlan Baptist Church in Harlan, Kentucky. You can have no way of knowing how much this application of the Lord’s Prayer to our process means to me. I will immediately share it with each member of our committee—and I am so grateful for your insight in this matter.

    Much thanks with much sincerity,
    Vickie Ball

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