Praying as a Leader

Christ Community Church Youth Presentation Week Two: DOMINATED. (By God!) Boom. America.

This is the text message I sent my boss Kelli last night after I finished presenting my second week of teaching to our church’s youth and youth leadership team. Dontcha just love it when God shows up and meets you there? Ahhhh…

Anywho, last night’s topic stemmed from “Praying as a leader.” Much like last week’s servant leadership, I could have probably done an entire day-long workshop on the topic. But thanks to God’s grace, He gave me the words to share it in about 30-ish minutes. (For a deeper look at prayer, check out A Little Big Conversation) Last nights presentation  went a little something like this (Not word for word, obviously… but you catch the drift.)

*****

Before we begin, let’s  travel back in time to my youth. Imagine me somewhere between 10 and 15 years ago (which would make me about 11 to 16 years old.) Put some birdnest bangs in the picture and braces… Got it? Ok.

I was saved when I was 11… and unsure where to go from there. But I did pray. And my prayers went a little something like this:

Dear God—
Please help me get to sleep tonight. Don’t let me worry about dying. Help me do good in school. Oh, and um, may your will be done… as long as it doesn’t hurt me or isn’t painful. I love you so much. AMEN. 

God yearns to hear us speak and talk to him, especially through prayer. Sure, there were a lot of areas of improvement in my prayer life. But I do know that he appreciated my efforts. While my methods of praying have changed dramatically in the past few years, I wouldn’t be where I am at now if I had not received some guidance on how to pray—especially as a Christian leader.

Think to yourself for a moment the last time you prayed… Was it today? Yesterday? Last year? Never? What did it look like? How do you feel about your prayer life right now?

The great news is that no matter when you last prayed or how you felt about it, God isn’t displeased… but TODAY is an opportunity to start new— to move forward with courage and excitement as we learn to pray as Christian leaders!

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” –Ephesians 6:18 
Praying is one of the most important things you can do as a leader! 

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty details… The first few are relatively simple.

  • WHO can pray? ANYONE! Every single one of you can talk to God. You are his beloved daughters and sons. Our father wants you to feel comfortable talking to him!
  • WHO can we pray for? ANYONE! Again, you can pray FOR anybody—believers, nonbelievers, your family, strangers on the street. If you want a “real life example” from my commissary adventures, check out Puppies & Potato Salad As leaders, consider specifically praying for your own followers, including other youth (or just people in general) within the community and school, that they might see the light of Jesus within your heart and want to follow you in the direction of the cross. Consider also praying for other leaders within our church family such as the ministers and your youth leadership team.
  • WHEN can we pray? ANY TIME! Pray when it works for you… While some people want complete quiet and it is encouraged to have a few quiet times with the Lord, we all can be reassured that God is listening 24/7. We can pray in the morning before or after we wake up, at mealtimes, on a walk, before bed… any or all of the above anytime!
  • WHERE can we pray? ANY WHERE! Just like when we can pray, God doesn’t care where you are when you talk to Him. I have found myself personally praying in random locations throughout the day: In bed before I get up, after breakfast when I have my quiet time, driving in my car, going on a run. Talk to him… He’s listening!
  • WHAT should we pray for? ANYTHING! Are you noticing a trend here? Praying can be simple if you allow it to be. If we are praying sincerely, pouring out our hearts to God, there really are any wrong things to pray for when it comes to “what.” That being said, remember God’s words in Scripture. Example: you can CERTAINLY pray for provision as a Christian/leader dealing with finances, but remember The Work from Matthew 6:24– “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Make sure to keep our priorities focused on HIM. Ultimately, we should trust him to give us what we need as leaders to be successful—it won’t always be easy. But it will be worth it!
  • HOW do we pray? WITH OUR HEART!  Praying doesn’t have to be fancy with “thees” and “Thous” and “doests”… they just need to be from our hearts. They shouldn’t be robotic, the same thing every single day just because you have always done it like that. Do it sincerely! (Reference back to my robot prayer that I said when I was younger…)

So we have the basics. Now, let’s dig a little deeper. Consider when you pray to use the acronym ACTSL (said like Axel… but spelled different 😉

  • ADMIRATION or ADORATION: God is amazing, awesome, all-powerful—let Him know it!
  • CONFESSION: This is an opportunity to clear your heart—remove any barriers between you and the Father. (It could be sin, conviction, doubt, junk of the world etc)
  • THANKSGIVING: Approach Him With an attitude of Gratitude!
  • SUPPLICATION: Present your requests… Petition Him! Here are a few “ideas” or suggestions to pray for…
    •  Pray for others (especially our followers, fellow leaders and the “lost”)
    • Pray for God’s will to be done … Sincerely! (Not like I said in my prayers of youth ) Pray with courage. (See yesterday’s post) He’s kind of a big deal… and knows the bigger picture. Trust him.
    • Pray for the needs for self: This is where you can ask God for what you need, maybe even what you want… Ideas include: Worries, Strength during a specific time, discernment (which is a fancy word for good judgment or understanding) guidance, empowerment, hope, comfort, humility, forgiveness, righteousness, conquering sin, the list is endless!
Then finally on “How” to pray…
  • LISTEN for a RESPONSE: Don’t be afraid of a little silence. It is an opportunity to be open to hear what God wants to say to you. And don’t be disheartened if God doesn’t grant your “requests.” He knows what we need… I’ve have often heard that God always answers prayers: Yes, Not yet, or I have something better in mind. Think about it… true huh?

Last but not least…

  • WHY do we pray?
    • To be OBEDIENT
    • GLORIFY GOD! It shows that we have faith in Him
    • INVITE the POWER of God into our lives – prayer provides closeness with the Lord, and we can enter into His presence.
    • It CHANGES us –Prayer shapes us… we are changed by being in His Presence. It helps us to keep our eyes open for the needs of selves and others. It empowers us, motivates us, softens us (in a good way) strengthens us… Pray can be such a powerful change agent!!

When we pray as leaders, we have to ask God to lead us first. He is the one driving us, guiding us, directing us. And he does it all with such a deep love and profound knowledge that we cannot match. However, if we remember WHY we pray, then he will empower us to accomplish His will by leading others in our every day walk with Christ. I saw this quote one day at the gym as a decal on the back window of a soldier’s truck… It had a soldier bowing down with some crosses and said “I can stand up to anything when I fall on my knees.”

Let me say it again:
“I can stand up to anything when I fall on my knees.” 

Ok, we have discussed who, when, where, what, how and why we pray. So what’s the next step? We can pray for God to help us all to learn to pray! Praying to pray! There is A LOT of power within that!  God wants to hear you speak… So speak to Him, and remember to keep on praying, because we can stand up to anything when we fall on our knees!

These are the nifty take-home bookmarks I made to help
our youth remember how to “Pray as a leader.”
Standing up, on my knees,
SGK
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” –Jude 1:20
Categories: leadership, Love, prayer | Leave a comment

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