As much as we need to plan and prepare as leaders, we need to train our ears to listen to and our hearts to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit. We need to grow in dependence on the Holy Spirit instead of relying on our own wisdom and abilities. How can we grow to be prayerful leaders who constantly tap into the power of the Holy Spirit?
To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and He will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:1–3 (NIV)
I was reading this book entitled, Red Moon Rising: Rediscover the Power of Prayer. It contains a lot of faith stories like how a movement began, the adventure and amazement of answered prayers, the sacrifices of pioneering faith, and a group of young people simply daring to take God at His word. I personally desire to be part of a similar move and found myself talking to God about it.
These faith stories reminded me of how we, especially as spiritual leaders, should be so dependent on God, not on our own strategies. I’m not saying that it’s not good to make plans. Of course, we should be good stewards of our resources. We should be highly intentional and relational just like Jesus. But if our strategies and plans become automatic and predictable, we may lose the dynamic leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5–6 (NIV)
As Christian leaders, we expect each other to always be ready, well-planned, and all set externally, but the most important part of our leadership is our internal state. Are we restless? Do we feel far from God? Do we hear from God? Are we all set internally as much as we are externally?
When everything seems to be going great, it usually becomes too easy, too predictable, too comfortable. But how are we spiritually when everything is going well on the surface? We disciple people, lead small groups, preach the gospel, and seem very fruitful. But we should not forget that Jesus is our goal. Do we still talk to Him and still get fascinated by Him? He is our vision. Jesus is the vision. Are we at the center of His plan?
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:4–5 (NIV)
We have to constantly get down on our knees and wait for God to speak to us. His sheep know His voice. God gave all His children the ability to hear from Him in different ways. If we don’t get to hear God’s voice and follow it diligently, we’re like fraud spiritual leaders trying to lead on our own. Our greatest desire in life is to know that God is with us. Let us allow God to walk with us as we lead.
There are many instances in the Bible where we can see that Jesus prioritized His intimacy with the Father. Prayer is an undeniable key to all that he Has done.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16 (NIV)
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Luke 6:12 (NIV)
Praying is not something we do for God, but it is God allowing us to be involved in something with Him. This is when we encounter God face-to-face without a middle man. We hear from Him when we pray. It is when God releases His power and gives us visions, even seemingly unrealistic ones.
One of the notable stories in Red Moon Rising is that of 24/7 Prayer. It is an international movement of prayer, mission and justice, which began accidentally in 1999 and has grown virally to reach more than half the nations on earth. It was birthed out of the obedience to pray.
Pete Greig (author of Red Moon Rising) quoted one of the renowned theologians, Karl Barth: “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”
Our prayers light up the way for the invading forces of heaven. And when a leader hears from God and prays together with his team, we can transform from small-scale guerrilla fights to powerful, publicly defying tanks with our prayers for freedom and restoration—God’s kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven.
Just like Joshua in the battle of Jericho, we should be so dependent on God and able to hear instructions from Him as we lead, even if those plans seem weird and unusual. Those kinds of powerful instructions from God are what every leader needs to hear. Joshua heard from God because He is constantly walking with Him. He led with God.
So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
Joshua 6:27 (NIV)
In our generation today, we need more leaders who will pray and intentionally grow in an intimate relationship with God. Praying should be our lifestyle, not an obligation.
Let’s make our prayers simple, real, and consistent. We don’t need flowery words. We can be honest with God and tell Him what we’re actually thinking, not what we ought to say. Keep praying and never give up!
God is on a mission to restore His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. That is what we declare as we pray. Let us be expectant that He will answer us as we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
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