Keeping the Burnout at Bay: A Prayer Practice for Ministers on Saturday Night

I’ve been noticing a feeling of overwhelm on Saturday nights. It makes sense… Sunday is a big day for ministers and it comes around fast. In trying to put a label/name to this feeling on Saturday nights, I came up with doom or dread, which was jarring and sad. I love being a minister. What does it mean to have doom and dread come around? I shared my thoughts with some friends and, wow. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who goes through this on some Saturday evenings. I mulled around what I wanted to do about this, both for myself, and for my colleagues, and I came up with a faith practice to try. 

This is a very simple practice that takes the minister through gratitude, repentance, grief, and hope whenever feelings of burnout (doom, dread, or how ever you label it) come in. It’s a place to put everything down that’s whirling around in there. For me, it happens on Saturday night. For others, I know it’s Sunday mornings, or randomly. 

I imagine lighting a candle and going through this prayer/liturgy. If you like putting rocks in water, or journaling, or some other way of making your prayer more interactive, that would work well, too. The most important thing to do is to sit still with all of the Saturday evening feelings and name them without judgment. 

Come, Holy Spirit, come. I’ve tried to leave enough room for you to make this your own while also providing structure.

To Keep the Burnout at Bay

A Saturday Evening/Sunday Morning Practice of Pause and Candle Lighting for Ministers


First, and always, gratitude. May I never become so overwhelmed or jaded that I leave gratitude behind. I pause to give God thanks in this moment. 

…For a job that sustains me and the people I love, thank you. 

…For the privilege of serving others and sharing the gospel, thank you. 

…For this calling, which is set apart and holy, thank you. 

…For all the things that come to mind in this moment: thank you. 

It is right and good to give thanks to God for all of God’s many gifts. I recognize these good gifts and give thanks.


In this moment, I’m mindful of all of the ways I’ve fallen short and feel inadequate. I seek the same forgiveness I offer so freely to others. So forgive me, I pray 

for wounding myself and others, intentionally or unintentionally: please forgive me. 

for doubt and fear: please forgive me. 

for holding back in work and love: please forgive me.

…for all the things that come to mind in this moment: please forgive me.

When the kindness and love of God my savior appeared, God saved me, not because of anything righteous I had done, but because of God’s mercy. I am forgiven. 


As I think about Sunday morning, it’s hard to acknowledge the grief that is always there.  I want to lead with hope and optimism, but so often find my heart heavy and weighed down, too. So in this moment, hear my grief and the burdens I’m carrying 

…for the people in my congregation who are hurting, angry, or wounded: this burden I lay down. 

…for my own resentment, worry, anger, and sadness: this burden I lay down.

…for the lost: this burden I lay down. 

…for all the grief that rushes in: these burdens I lay down. . 

Leaders carry heavy burdens and it’s ok. I lay my burdens down now, to the extent that I can, trusting in God. 


As I leave this time of prayer and reflection, may I leave with hope in the power of resurrection and new life. I know that I walk with Jesus who also felt the heavy weight of leadership at times. I know that I’m not alone. I open up my heart to hope

…for energized and joyful worship: I dare to have hope

…for growth and renewal: I dare to have hope 

…for surprises from the Spirit: I dare to have hope

…for all the quiet desires of my heart for myself and my congregation: I dare to have hope. 

It can be hard and vulnerable to hope, but I remember that hope does not disappoint. 

Thank you, God, for your love that is always available to me. Thank you for Christ who sustains me and gives me grace and for the Spirit who prays with me now and always. 

Amen and amen. 

Share Our Content

Stay Connected

More Articles of Interest

Prayer Candle Craft and Activity

This simple prayer candle idea is one I got from my friend Laura Alary. She taught it to me when discussing her new book Breathe: A