Lord Jesus, We read here your strong words against the teachers of the law who sat in Moses’ seat in your day. We pray for the pastors and the lawmakers in our city and nation today, that they will merit praise and honor from you rather than judgment. We ask by the work of your Spirit that they will, each of them, practice what they preach. We pray that our people will have respect for the position they hold, and do all that they direct us to do that is consistent with the will and the word of God. I pray that they will, each one of them, become a member of the kingdom of heaven. I pray that they will not, through legalism and heavy-handedness, shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces but instead open the doors wide. May the men they mentor and recruit to replace themselves be men who will make our churches and our nation better and not worse. Lord, we often sag under the weight that is laid on us by preachers and politicians. I pray that our spiritual and cultural leaders will no longer tie up heavy loads and put them on our shoulders, but instead show us that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Protect them from doing what they do in order to be noticed and praised by men; protect them from the temptation of loving important seats and places of honor, and from the love of titles and public recognition. May they remember that we have just one Master and that they are brothers with us. Remind them that we have just one Father, our Father who is in heaven. And remind them that we have just one Teacher, you, the Christ. May they serve their people, knowing that the greatest among us is our servant. Remind them that whoever exalts himself will be humbled, so that they may humble themselves and allow you to exalt them at the proper time. I pray for myself and for ______________________ . I pray that we too will practice what we preach, and not tie up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of our friends and family members through our demands and expectations. May we serve others this day that we may be great in your kingdom. Keep us from exalting ourselves; prompt us instead to humble ourselves under your mighty hand that you may exalt us in due time. This I pray in your name, amen.