I have been thinking much about the relationship between leading and praying since I posted the manuscript recently of a presentation I gave to a class in July at the Nazarene Seminary in Costa Rica. To read the full manuscript click Spanish or English.
The seventh anchor for holding us steady when good and godly people collide with the leaders is:
“Caring leaders pray earnestly.” This is what’s I mean:
Issue: Some issues are only resolved and dissolved through prayer and total dependence on God.
Principle: God can work in us to become the change we desire to see in others.
Caring leaders know that we do not have the power to change others. Change can take place, however, within us! In the midst of experiencing honest and intense differences between good and godly people, the “pray-er” can be changed and transformed!
Conflict situations can produce growth. They can also inhibit growth in the lives of leaders. Before God in prayer, we seek answers from Him to these two questions: what can I learn; how can I change?
In so asking, and seeking God’s answers to these two questions for our lives as leaders, we are changed! Increasingly, we become the change, by God’s grace, we desire to see in others. Others around us may or may not be impacted by what happen within us. But, what happens to us is transformative!
We grow. We change. We mature. We increasingly exemplify the change we desire to see in others! And, in the process, we experience the peace of God which transcends understanding. In the process, we are “freed” from insisting on change within others.
Through earnest prayer, caring leaders asks the right questions, and trust God with the results…even as we are changed in the process! Amen!
Speaking of praying, I heard the late Dr. J. Kenneth Grider, highly esteemed professor emeritus of Nazarene Theological Seminary, reflect on his own need to grow in grace through service. He often prayed the following prayer before beginning his class sessions. His prayer, and prayers, impacted me deeply. This prayer can be found his book, A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology.
I am Your bread.
Break me up and pass me around to the poor and needy of this world.
I am Your towel.
Dampen me with tears and with me wash the feet of people who are weary with walking and with working.
I am Your light.
Take me out to where the darkness is thick, there to shine and let Christ shine.
I am Your pen.
Write with me whatever word You wish, and placard the word where the least and the lost of the world will see it and read it and be helped by it.
I am Your salt.
Sprinkle me on all the things that You want for people, so that my faith and love and hope will flavor their experiences.
I am Your water.
Pour me into people who thirst for You but do not even know that it is You for whom they thirst. Pour into them the trust that You have helped me to place in You. Pour into them the inward witness that is in me. Pour into them the promise that soon the summer drought will pass and refreshing rivers of water will gush down over them.
I am Yours, Lord God.
Use me up in what You will, when You will, where You will, for whom You will, even if it means that I am given responsibilities that are considerable and costly.