This article was first seen on ArrowLeadership.org. Written by Dr. Steve Brown.
It’s only been a few days since we said “good riddance” to 2020, but already this new year doesn’t feel like a fresh start. To be blunt, it feels like a fresh mess or at least continued darkness and difficulty.
A quick listen to the news or a scroll through social media stirs a range of uncomfortable feelings–fatigue, anger, and a sense of being overwhelmed to name a few.
So how will you respond as a Christian leader?
One response is a passive one. You can pull the covers over your head and hide. This response is like following in the footsteps of a bear for a winter hibernation.
Another response is an aggressive one. You can vent or lash out to people near and far. Reading my social media feed reminds me that it only takes a few keystrokes to spew some angst.
As Christian leaders in challenging times, we need to find different ways to respond. This is our watch. The stakes are high. We need to Lead Different.
One practical and powerful way we can Lead Different is to pray and stir others to pray.
It’s tempting to pin our hopes on a person or a strategy or in a vaccine. And we do need people, strategies, and vaccines. But as Jesus followers, we need to keep Psalm 20:7 in mind: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Prayer is a key practice to express our trust and utter dependence on God. Calling on, crying out to, interceding, petitioning, and drawing near to God through prayer is an incredible privilege and awesome responsibility. It’s not a passive-aggressive response. It’s a transformational response.
Prayer changes us, and in God’s providence, prayer changes our world in ways we can see and in ways we cannot fathom.
It’s tempting to hide from the craziness of these days or easy to be consumed by emotions and frenetic changes. As leaders, we can’t be hiding or consumed by emotions or allow ourselves to be buried by the changes.
It’s also tempting to long for things to go back to “normal.” However, we need to remember that “normal” was not utopia in the first place. For example, the statistics for the Church in North America weren’t improving pre-COVID. “Normal” wasn’t a just society.
In what may be the most significant global crisis and darkest days of our lifetimes, I wonder if God is hoping he might hear more often from me and his people. If not now, then when? What will it take?
I know calling people to pray can easily stir guilt, so let’s not go there! Instead, let’s get praying and inviting others to pray!
Here are a few prayer prompts to get you started:
- Take some slow and deep breaths to quiet your heart and mind.
- Spend a few minutes praising God and declaring who he is. Pray some Psalms. Pray an aspect of God’s character for each letter of the alphabet.
- Share your heart cries with God. The Psalms are full of raw and real prayers.
- Pray for leaders in government and positions of authority, that they would have a fear of God, wisdom, courage and perseverance.
- Pray for the safety and health of healthcare workers, and first responders etc.
- Pray for provision and protection for people in great need: the poor, widows, orphans, the sick, the downcast, the lonely, the oppressed, etc.
- Pray for God’s desires like love, justice, peace, reconciliation, faithfulness, and hope to reign.
- Pray for spiritual revival in your life, in your church, in the churches of your city, and the Church globally.
- Pray for spiritual awakening in your neighborhood, your city, your country, and our world.
- Listen for how God might be asking you to respond, repent, change or act.
- Declare your ongoing trust in God. One by one, entrust your burdens to the care of the Good Shepherd.
Cheering you on to pray more now than ever!