When the Pastor Needs to Kick the Church Out.


Jesus advised, “Go into your prayer closet. Close the door tight. Pray to your Father who is in secret” (Matt. 6:6).

Notice the verbs Jesus used: Go. Close. Pray.

Many pastors seldom go. Some pastors go, but they don’t close—leaving their door open to all kinds of distractions. Some pastors go and close, but their prayers always center on their ministry. Rather than a “me alone with God” time, it’s more a “me and God and my church” time.

Of course pastors need to pray for their church. However, ministry-related prayers will not result in the personal energy and equanimity needed to remain faithful to the hard work of pastoring. What is my advice?

Don’t let the church into your closet. The closet is for you and God. And by that I don’t mean you the pastor, but rather you the child of God. The Father wants to spend time with you and whisper words of love and guidance to you. Intercede for your church some other time, some other place, but not in your closet.


The above article is an excerpt from my book: Mile Wide, Inch Deep: Experiencing God Beyond the Shallows, Soul Care For Busy Pastors and the Rest of Us. Find your copy here.


  1. MICHAEL DUNCAN’s avatar

    Interesting. As a pastor, my heart is always toward the church – their needs and hurts and hangups. I had never really considered that in the closet of prayer I was neglecting my own relationship with the Father as I prayed for my church family. This makes me rethink the time I spend with God, to seek that time alone with Him, unencumbered with the weight of ministry.

  2. Dave Jacobs’s avatar

    Thanks for your comments Michael. Your situation is sooooo common. You might find interesting my first book: Mile Wide, Inch Deep…I believe there is a link at the bottom of the article. Keep up the good work.

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