There are many principles and keys to successful Christian leadership but most are not as vital as prayer. Prayer is one of the most powerful communication tools given to man to use to commune with our heavenly father. Do not burden yourself by attempting to pray as good or as fluent as some of your ministerial colleagues or spiritual mentors. Simply ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray as best as you can. The ever wise Holy Spirit will teach you Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye”, and will divinely connect you with those who will help sharpen and perfect YOUR praying style. Diligently learn from those God has brought into your life, but learn as led by the Holy Spirit. When I attempted to pray as some of the prayer warriors I respected, I did not connect with the Lord as I expected. When I trusted the Holy Spirit to help me pray based on what He and others taught me, then I truly felt the power of God as I prayed. This is the best type of praying leader you should desire to be, the one God has ordained you to become.
Jesus Christ, our Lord and best example of how to obey God prayed while he was on earth. Jesus prayed for himself in John 17:1-2 “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” Jesus also prayed for his disciples as shown in John 17:9-10 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them”. One of my deepest desires is for every pastor and ministry leader to be able to prayer this prayer as often as needed. This particular prayer emphasizes the accountability we have to God for those given to us, but more importantly clarifies that we are simply custodians for these truly belong to God our father. Finally Jesus prayed for all believers in John 17:20-21 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me”.
I offer these 3 examples in John 17 to highlight the importance of praying for ourselves John 17:1-5, praying for those God has ordained us to lead, John 17:6-19 and also praying for those whom will believe in Jesus in John 17:20-26. This is one of the best examples of God’s expectation of prayer from his servant leaders. Take the time to read study and meditate on John 17 for Jesus provides profound guidelines for mastering the essentials of prayer for these 3 categories of his children which are most important to our mission on earth.
I have seen the biggest results in my life when I pray according to God’s mission for me and those he has called me to lead. Let’s be clear, God is certainly concerned about our personal welfare, such as health and family success and balance. He is also highly interested in us praying for his will in our lives and the lives he has mandated us to lead. I trust you will experience the glory of God as you use John 17 to pray for yourself, your disciples and those who will believe in our Lord and Savior.
Shalom and Glory to you.
Join us next time for part 2 which explores the root reasons for prayer in our current challenging environment.
Joseph Doxa is the Pastor of Glory Life Church in Tampa, Florida. He and his wife Cindy have 3 daughters and 1 son. They are originally from Nigeria. Pastor Doxa serves as the Ambassador of Prayer for All Pro Pastors and hosts our International Prayer Conference call with Pastors and leaders every Wednesday at 7:00 AM EST.