Leading people to pray
This July sees the 7th annual International Day of Prayer, as believers from all around the world commit to focussing on and praying for the needs of this world, interceding for Kingfisher churches and ministries in various countries around the world, and this year particularly crying out to God for release from the Pandemic.
It is a powerful time throughout the International Family, but it also highlights the central, key role that leaders have in terms of prayer. If leadership is influence, then we leaders need to be aware that we are either influencing people to pray in a committed, faith-filled manner, or not. To influence others to have a healthy, authentic prayer life requires that we have one first.
Unfortunately, leaders all-too often struggle in this area, with their prayers being little more than distracted cries for help as they are buffeted by one demand after another. Whatever else we pray for – and the Bible says we should pray about everything (Philippians 4:6) – there are seven core prayers that should become a way of life for every leader.
1) Bold faith
Leadership is not safe and comfortable – we are constantly on the edge of launching into the next challenge. To pray for bold faith is to choose to trust God at a higher level, as the stakes just go on getting bigger. Trust is at the heart of the leader’s walk with God, and so we need to be continually praying for bold faith in each step that we take.
2) Kingdom courage
Leaders are continually faced with challenging situations, with tough decisions, with awkward conversations. We need courage to not just opt for what is safe, for popularity, or for what is easy. Kingdom courage is courage to do what is necessary to see the Kingdom of God more fully manifest here on earth.
3) Servant influence
We long to see the ministry grow and more people to come to know and follow Jesus Christ. This means that influence will grow – but not influence in order to get people to do things our way, but to encourage people to follow Jesus more closely. It was He who said: “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35, NIV), and so our prayer must be ‘Lord, increase in me a servant heart so that I can influence more people to follow you.’ Leadership is about His Kingdom, not our kingdom! Lord , keep my heart oriented towards serving others, rather than requiring that they serve me.
4) Personal strength
The bigger the ministry the more demands we face. The more demands we face, the greater the need for God to strengthen us. Do not overlook your personal needs in prayer – you need increased physical stamina, a deepening of your spiritual hunger, a more enduring, Godly character, the ability to withstand the temptations that surround every leader. ‘Lead me not into temptation, Lord, but deliver me from evil’.
5) Godly wisdom
You say, “I am allowed to do anything” — but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Knowledge is useful, but wisdom is the ability to balance up both side of this verse… knowing not just what I can do, but what I should do – not just what is possible, but what is beneficial. Too many leaders have their calling shipwrecked by getting involved in things they should be giving a wide berth to, on the basis that they feel they are owed, that they will get away with it, that they need some comfort. Free will leads to the first part of Paul’s statement: ‘I am allowed to do anything’. Godly wisdom is able to discern, not what I can get away with, but what will lead me closer to Jesus and help me grow as a servant leader.
Leaders commonly struggle with the underlying belief that it is all down to them. They struggle to understand that the whole basis of our relationship with Jesus Christ is grace – God’s unmerited favour. We leaders are not the creators and sustainers of the universe – God is. This is not an invitation to live a life of halfheartiness and compromise – indeed, as Paul asks: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace shall increase? By no means!” (Romans 6:1). This is an invitation to see leadership as partnership and that there is forgiveness available through confession and repentance. Praying for a greater awareness of God’s grace should be a central feature of a leader’s prayer life.
7) Spiritual authority
We know that spiritual authority is released as we come to understand and walk in our identity as sons and daughters of God. I do not want to lead just in my own authority, relying on my personal ability to get people to do what I want them to do. I want to be released into Godly authority as I come to rest in my identity as a dearly-loved child of God. Spiritual authority brings God’s power to your teaching, key leadership moments, prayers for the sick and suffering, vision-casting, and empowering leaders. Your spiritual authority grows as your identity in Christ deepens.
This month, you and I have the incredible privilege of leading those in our church or ministry to pray in our International Day of Prayer. But the depth, power and reality of those prayers will also bring clarity to the state of my own prayer life as a leader. Why? Because leadership is influence…
- Catch a fresh vision of what God is doing in this world
- Become part of a huge army of prayer warriors, interceding for the
Holy Spirit to intervene and bring breakthroughs around the world
- Experience the power of prayer as thousands of others around the
world pray for you, your church and your country