Some of us lead in different areas of ministry, and some of us don’t think of ourselves as leaders at all. You may not have a formal position of leadership; however, each of us – no matter how young in the faith – is in a position to influence others. Even brand-new believers can influence other believers in a variety of ways. For example, simply by encouraging other people you can have a “Kingdom impact.”
With that in mind, I want to suggest some prayer priorities for leaders – things that will help us grow and help us to see others grow, too.
How should leaders pray? What does a real leader pray for and pray about? Let’s look together at five prayer priorities of a leader.
1. A Leader prays for himself and spends time with God
I praise You seven times a day because of Your righteous judgments. (Psalms 119:164)
Sometimes we’re tempted to think we are being selfish by going to God for our own needs. But there’s nothing unspiritual about it – we all need grace and help for the challenges of life. Despite of his busyness, or more likely because of it, King David found he needed to take “praise breaks” throughout the day.
Leaders pray for themselves because they’ve come to see their own needs and wouldn’t dare minister to others without seeking God’s touch first. The Romans had a saying: Nemo dat quod non habet – Nobody gives what he doesn’t have.
Jesus exemplified this “first things first” type of praying: And He healed many who were sick of different diseases, and cast out many demons. And He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him. And rising up quite early in the night, He went out and went away into a deserted place, and He was praying there. (Mark 1:34-5)
Many of us would have slept in after such a season in ministry, but the demands of life compelled Jesus to be even more sure to walk with His Father. These demands were not an excuse to stop spending time with God, they were a reason to seek Him even more.
Reformation leader Martin Luther sought to apply this principle, too, and famously said, “Tomorrow I plan to work – work from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
Wise leaders know they need prayer and are also humble enough to ask others to pray for them. Paul accomplished so much for the cause of Christ, but we can go through the New Testament and see how many times he asked people to pray for him.
Don’t be too proud to pray for yourself, or to ask people to pray for you!