What will you ask of God in 2019?
It’s almost an unimaginable gift we have as Christian leaders to be able to ask God himself to lend His presence and power to our leadership and ministry. Yet it’s true.
Don’t waste the privilege of prayer, it’s your most powerful resource as a leader.
This invitation and opportunity to pray can be overwhelming. The needs are so many, from vision and dreams to hope and healing.
We pray for salvation, the personal needs of those we shepherd, the community, hunger and poverty, specific ministries, staff, our own family and personal needs, and of course there’s no end to this list.
If we’re honest about the practicalities, we acknowledge that we can’t pray for everything; so where do we start?
What are the big prayers that can transform your leadership from the mere results of human effort, to supernaturally empowered?
The purpose of this post is not to limit your prayers. You can pray for anything at any time. But some prayers are positioned to give support to you, your more specific prayers and your leadership. They bring life, energy, and strength to what you do as a leader.
Before we move through these seven prayers, let me briefly share my personal approach in prayer. When I start with these three prayers, my heart seems to be better positioned to pray further and deeper. They aren’t necessarily long, but they are very sincere.
The best positioning of our heart before we ask more of God is a spirit of gratitude for what He has already given. So, I speak words of praise and worship and very specific thanks for the many blessings in my life.
A humble heart is pleasing to God. Therefore, I offer expressions of confession and acknowledge my dependence upon God.
I lean into God’s kindness by declaring my trust and belief based on countless answered prayers. This is not a “name it and claim it” proposition, but my desire to pray His will, according to scripture, while acknowledging God’s love for the church and me.
I don’t want you to become discouraged by thinking, “How can I add seven more prayers when I already don’t have enough time?” Try this approach, pray one of these big payers a day. And each week you’ll have them all covered!
7 big leadership prayers:
1) Bold faith
I’ve never felt my faith was big and bold. My faith is unwavering and sure, but I think a more bold and growing faith is needed not only to pray with strength and belief but to lead in the same way.
Trust is at the core of faith for a leader. Essentially, it’s the question of how much we trust God. Leadership is not a safe or comfortable role if we are truly leading, we are always out on the edge of where we’ve never gone before. That requires bold faith.
2) Kingdom courage
The fears and insecurities that are common to leaders require courage to overcome. God provides courage as we pray and takes action to demonstrate our faith.
Kingdom courage is focused specifically on the needs of the Kingdom centered on God’s purpose in Matthew 28:18-20.
Courage demonstrates itself in practical forms such as financial risk, difficult decisions, and tough conversations.
3) Servant influence
Praying for greater influence can seem like a selfish prayer. But let’s extend the benefit of the doubt understanding that it’s about reaching more people for Jesus, not for any personal gain. (God’s Kingdom, not our kingdom.) With that in mind, one of the best ways to pray is to ask for greater servant influence.
We are servants of God entrusted to serve others just as Jesus modeled for us. That’s a big leadership prayer. When our hearts are biased toward serving for the good of others, we can be trusted with more influence.
4) Personal strength
The larger your ministry grows, (one of your Kingdom prayers, right?), the greater the need for personal strength. This includes physical stamina, consistent character, and spiritual tenacity.
As a leader, you need different things on different days. There are days when substantial physical energy is needed to press on and other days when spiritual strength is needed to resist temptation. There are still other times when you face spiritual battle, and great strength is required.
God answers these big prayers for strength.
5) Pure wisdom
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”James 3:17
That verse gives us great insight into God’s wisdom, and the word pure has always stood out to me. God’s wisdom is connected to the things that are in perfect in alignment with His will. It’s a wisdom that is unblemished, perfect, and not contaminated by the world.
I love this big prayer and pray it often.
6) Unmerited favor
Grace is the unmerited favor of God and is the basis of our salvation.
But grace doesn’t stop there. Even though as Christians each of us is a new creation (II Cor 5:17), sin is still a reality. Grace is the free gift that covers our humanity as we lead. This is not an excuse to sin, but encouragement that when we do fail, God’s grace is real.
Confession and forgiveness is part of a Christian’s life and absolutely essential for a spiritual leader. I’m not suggesting that sin is a regular pattern or acceptable, but that we have an advocate with the Father when we do sin. (I John 2:1)
God’s favor carries great depth and breath; it is not confined to salvation. There are hundreds of examples but consider Psalm 84:11:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
The prayer of favor is great privilege.
7) Spiritual authority
The last thing I want to do is lead in my own power. I know how futile that is. My prayer is for a sense of spiritual authority that allows the power of the Holy Spirit to be fully engaged in and through my leadership.
I’m confident you share a similar desire. Spiritual authority was never designed to be used for personal gain, but the good of others as they pursue God.
Spiritual authority brings God’s power to your teaching, key leadership moments, prayers for the sick and suffering, vision-casting, and empowering leaders. Of course, there is more, but you get the idea.
So, give this a try! Pray one of these 7 big prayers a day – each week, and see what God does.