SSP Prayer Bulletin Reflection
January 25, 2015
I mentioned previously that the best way to build a culture of praying here at St. Stephen’s Parish or in any other church should begin with the Church Leaders, that is, they should lead by example. Praying is part and parcel of a church leader’s life. A church leader cannot go about his service unto the Lord without praying. I doubt that you can find a maximally effective spiritual leader in the Bible or in history that was not a person of prayer. This is the reality today as much as it was two thousand years ago.
God’s desire is for men to be on their knees in full subjection to Him. Leaders should not boast nor think of themselves as having the strength and the spiritual gifts to serve the Lord and His people. They need rather to humble themselves and recognise their weaknesses; to depend fully upon the Lord to help and to grant them the grace to overcome their weaknesses. Remember that we ought not to lead by our own might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zech. 4:6)
In order to lead well and to make good decisions, leaders need to pray and wait upon the Lord for His guidance and the Spirit to empower and enable them. They ought to show dependence upon the Lord through earnest prayers before they even make important decisions in doing the Lord’s work.
Solomon was young when he was appointed king but he humbled himself before the Lord and readily prayed and asked Him for wisdom at the beginning of his reign in order to enable him to rule the mane people under his charge. He acknowledged his inadequacy and showed his dependence upon the Lord God Almighty.
Prayer was a consistent feature in the life of our Lord Jesus. We read in the gospels how the Lord would always pray early in the morning and all night, and taught the disciples to pray always. Besides the Lord’s pattern of a deep, earnest, enduring and constant prayer life, another great example of one who preaches on praying always and practising it himself is none other than the great Apostle Paul. If our Master and the great Apostle prayed so much and so earnestly, then how much more we ought to pray?
It is well noted that many great church leaders had deep lives of prayer. Martin Luther and John Wesley prayed for hours each day. The great reformer, Martin Luther, said: “I generally pray two hours every day, except on very busy days. On those days, I pray three. It was said of C. Spurgeon that he never prayed more than five minutes at a time, but he never went more than five minutes without praying. E.M. Bounds was devoted to praying three hours a day beginning at 4 a.m. in the morning, and his books are a wonderful example of the power of a praying man. 19th Century Christian leader Andrew Murray said that prayer in the life of the leader should be regarded “as the highest part of the work entrusted to us, the root and strength of all other work…there is nothing we need to study and practice as the art of praying alright.”
An effective leader must have a deep prayer life. A Christian leader must discipline himself to continue to grow and to lead in prayer always. The Christian leader should set the example of devotion and prayer in the church, at home, and in his life day and night. Do you measure up to these?
It is certainly the will of God that as leaders, our lives must be characterised with the discipline of prayer. As we pray, we show dependence upon the Spirit of God to help and to guide us in our leadership. We need to be praying constantly in earnestness and perseverance for the work, for the people and for ourselves that we may not fall but rather be effective in the work of God’s Kingdom. As leaders in the ministry of the Lord, let us therefore examine our hearts before the Lord if our prayer life is sufficient and appropriate enough. May God help us, especially, as leaders to give ourselves unto the habit of continuing instant in prayer and supplication in the Spirit! Now, we note that leaders are also unceasing in their prayers. How often do we pray and how much time do we spend before the throne of grace as God’s appointed leaders for His work and His people?