It is well known that pastor’s often struggle to rest. That is not an excuse but a reality. Over the years I have tried to collect my thoughts and commit these struggles to God in prayer. I offer this here for your encouragement.
God thank you for all you have done. You have sustained me through the labor and trials of the last week. You have kept me for yourself and answered my prayers. Thank you for the blessing of being your adopted son in Christ. Help me to rejoice in this freedom! Thank you for the honor of serving you and your church. Help me to recognize all of your work as I rest from my work.
God, you have called me to yourself and invited me to rest. You have also commanded me to rest each week. You have given examples of sabbath rest in scripture for your people and the land. You have warned me not to rest in false hopes. Fulfill all of this in me. I cannot do it on my own. Help me to rest my body, mind and spirit today in all that you are.
God I give you all of my cares and anxieties. Would you carry them? I struggle with truly resting because I worry about your people, the health of the church, the sin and sickness of our community, financial concerns, the opinions of others. I commit all of these to your safe keeping.
Forgive me for all of the places that my anxiety is due to sin and unbelief. Lord, I am sorry that I struggle to trust your promises. I am sorry that I struggle with something as simple as a day off because my confidence in you is so weak. I believe, help my unbelief!
Help me to trust in YOU and not in the effectiveness of my own plans or efforts. I want my work for you to stand, but I know that only your power can make anything last. Today, would you do everything that needs to be done while I am at rest. Show me that it is your work and not mine that brings victory.
Let every anxiety today turn my heart back to you in prayer.
Give me the blessing of self-forgetfulness. Help me not to obsess about my successes or failures. Help me to be lost in the blessings of Your goodness, Your word, my family, and hobbies. Help me to have a day off from work, but not from you.
Merciful father, through rest give me the strength I need to work hard for you. Let my body and mind be restored and fit for more usefulness.
Lord help this day to point me toward the eternal rest that is mine in Christ. Help me not to despair when my days off are interrupted or imperfect. Help me not to fret when I can’t sleep or find myself distracted. Let these trials raise hope in me of the perfect rest that waits.