Weekly Thought – February 6,2018
Fred believed strongly in the power of prayer. He was, however, careful not to misuse it either in public or private. The family remembers seeing him on his knees by his bed before going to sleep. He and Mom kept a list of prayer needs. This visual of a strong man bowed down on the floor marked them permanently. This week’s thought is excerpted from an article published in the Mennonite Brethren Herald in February, 2000.
The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities held their International Conference in Dallas this week. A recurring message was the importance of mentoring, and character building. The purpose of BWFLI is to strengthen and bless the next generation of leaders…to the glory of God. We so appreciate your financial and prayerful support as we enter into a heavy schedule of campus events.
Prayer can undergo disuse, misuse, and abuse at the hands and voices of Christian leaders. We all have experienced the manipulation through conversations with God which seemed more like a Public Relations pitch or a financial ask.
But there are responsible uses. And I have found that proper leadership prayer involves four steps, often overlapping:
1) Positioning – Prayer positions me. It reminds me I am not the ultimate leader…the Lord Jesus is. I am the steward, not the owner. Sometimes kneeling physically helps me with this step.
2) Shifting into neutral – Prayer is more effective when I can emotionally, and mentally shift into a true neutral gear, ready to fully accept divine leadership. Leaders are usually strong-willed, opinionated persons who feel awkward and uncomfortable in neutral. It is so much easier to ask God’s stamp of approval on what we want to do. But what we must say is, “You will be done” and really mean it. I have found I must still my thoughts, separating my interests as far as possible. When an issue is at stake, a neutral position allows me to consider various options. If I have time I let the options simmer overnight or longer. Then I repeat the options and if one seems to serve the cause better than the others, I know I am ready to shift out of neutral, putting the machine in motion with a clear conscience and peaceful spirit.
3) Dynamic peace – Tournament golfers standing over a crucial putt, put everything out of their mind except for a pure stroke. They aren’t thinking about prestige, financial benefits, or even the crowd. As leaders, we often must block out the distractions. For example, we must not think about the fear of failure, or second guess decisions we have made. Prayer helps us find a dynamic peace… not a sleepy peace, but one that is exhilarating. There is confidence in dynamic peace. And I find confidence lets me concentrate fully on the task. When I am operating with dynamic peace, it doesn’t make me smarter, or more skilled, but gives me the freedom to work with the highest concentration.
4) Acceptance – When I have done my best, only then in prayer can I peacefully accept failure as well as success. Kipling puts it this way: “treat those two impostors just the same.” A leader prays himself into the conscious presence and will of God so that he accomplishes what Chambers calls, “My utmost of His highest.”
This week think about: 1) How can I develop my prayer muscles? 2) What do I do to “get into neutral gear”? 3) When does prayer seem like true conversation with God?
Words of Wisdom: “Prayer helps us find a dynamic peace… not a sleepy peace, but one that is exhilarating.”
Wisdom from the Word: “When Solomon finished presenting all these prayers and requests to the Lord, he got up from before the altar of the Lord where he had kneeled and spread out his hands toward the sky.” (1 Kings 8:54 NET Bible)