Are regular devotions important for a pastor?

Jesus himself withdrew from ministering to huge crowds so that he could pray alone (Luke 5:12-16). The apostle Paul made time to pray for churches near and far (Rom. 1:9-10, 1 Cor. 1:4, Eph. 1:16, Phil. 1:4, Col. 1:3). But in case the examples of Jesus and Paul aren’t enough, here are a few more reasons why pastors should spend daily, personal time in the Word and prayer.

  1. Spiritual forces oppose us and our work (Eph. 6:12). The Christian life is a battle, and no battle is won passively (Rom. 8:13). If we don’t spiritually gear up for each day we give the devil a great advantage. A pastor must enter his daily battles armed with the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith hammered out in prayer (Eph. 6:16-17).
  2. Daily devotions remind us to pursue Christ before pursuing ministry. This keeps our motives in the right order and attacks our pride.
  3. Pastors are to set an example for the flock (1 Pet. 5:2-4, 1 Cor. 11:1). If we want to encourage our people to have daily communion with God, we should set the pace.
  4. Ministry can bring great joy and severe trials. The pastor who daily communes with God in the Word and prayer is far more likely to weather the storms of ministry and to give God all the glory for sustaining him.

(Some of this material has been adapted from Mike Gilbart-Smith’s article, “The Devotional Life of the Professional Christian: The Indispensability of Discipline in the Devotions of a Pastor”)