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A Leader’s Exhortation to Pray

If you truly want to be a Christian who is successful and anointed to fulfil your purpose it is critical that you develop a daily prayer life. The most successful Christian leaders in history got up early and spent time in the prayer closet speaking to God before embracing the challenges of each day. Jesus taught us the importance of spending time in prayer, He led with that example daily meeting and praying to His Father God. Real intimacy with God is developed through the discipline of prayer and fellowship with Him. The more you pray the more your intimacy with God will grow.

Prayer should be your first thought before you make any decision. Praying should be the very first thing and the last thing you do every day. I speak to God as soon as I wake up and I speak to him before I switch off the light to go to sleep. I speak to Him throughout each day as I’ve developed that type of relationship with Him that I can talk to God about anything. God longs for that type of relationship, a constant communication in prayer with Him. He will never fail you as He loves to answer your prayers so never be afraid to take your prayers and petitions before Him.

Never limit your prayers or the time you spend with God. If you want to cut down a tree using an axe the first thing a wise person will do is to sharpen that axe first. Why? Because it will take much less effort and time to cut down the tree and it is also much safer using a sharp axe. Approach every situation in prayer because from personal experience it makes it much easier because you give God permission to intervene on your behalf, and you give Him permission to go ahead of you. He will help you resolve the worst conflicts, situations and scenarios. Ask Him for all that you need – strength, encouragement, wisdom, knowledge, support or resources and protection.

God’s word is filled with guidance about prayer and the benefits it provides us. Using prayer as a strategy will pay great dividends. I have learned to pray before major leadership challenges, important meetings, conflicting situations and even in life-threatening circumstances. God has never failed me; I will often meet with other Christian leaders and pray together over situations and experience God supernaturally intervening and bringing resolution when things seemed impossible. I have worked alongside Christian leaders in very influential leadership positions who would not let me leave their office without praying for me. That is truly a Christian leadership characteristic and the mark of someone who truly follows Jesus, cares for others and shares that relationship without fear.

Each of us needs encouragement and continual blessings in our life.  Be a person that truly blesses and encourages others by developing a habit or discipline of prayer. We need to be courageous and bold to do this, for that is what God wants us to be; bold and courageous only fearing Him without fearing men. Imagine how you could start to bring change in your ministry, workplace, family, community by starting to regularly pray with others. Imagine how that fire of prayer could spread as others are led by you to do the same?

One of my favourite prayers and declarations is Psalm 91. I have learned to pray it daily over my family, my workplace and believe the many promises it contains. Promises like guardian angels that protect us, rest, refuge, safety, rescue from every trap and protection from deadly disease. What amazing promises when we love God and come to Him for shelter and trust in His promises.

Jesus said – My house will be a house of prayer! Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

What has happened today? Gods house is devoid of prayer. His people have become so busy doing life their own way, that they have little or no time to pray or spend time with Him. It’s time that we put the thieves out of our life, those circumstances, people and things that are robbing us of our destiny and quality time with God. We have got it wrong, just look how Jesus got angry and told them that His temple should be a house of prayer. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, His presence dwells inside each of us and our lives should reflect a lifestyle that pleases Him through continual prayer and fellowship.

If you want direction in your life ‘pray’. If you want to hear God’s voice ‘pray’. If you are facing impossible circumstances or challenges ‘pray’. If you need encouragement ‘pray’. If you need breakthroughs ‘pray’. Prayer is the key to your success as a Christian.

Surround yourself with other Christians who pray regularly and build friendships with people who can pray for you and likewise you for them. These types of friendships are invaluable to leaders, as they provide you support and friends who will lift you up especially in more challenging times.

Prayer is one of the best ways to conquer stress and anxiety and by applying this guidance not to worry about anything but to pray about everything with thanksgiving, then you will experience Gods peace. Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

As leaders, we use different types of strategies and plans for projects, managing incidents, performance etc. The best and most important strategy you can use effectively for any situation is prayer. If you could put prayer first, from personal experience you will see change and improvements no matter how impossible the situation might seem. Difficult things become easy!

In Marks Gospel, we find a very strategic insight from Jesus. He tells us that when situations from our human perspective seem impossible, we can take them to God and see the human impossibilities become Gods possibilities. Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

Prayer changes not just situations or circumstances but people. Prayer is our ability to move from our natural circumstances into the presence of God. I refuse to be a leader who operates in the natural but one that operates in the supernatural. When you hand God the keys of your life and all your circumstances and concerns, then you start to see things change. Problems, anxieties, worry all add to stress and can make you unwell or change your behaviour. Prayer and the discipline of handing all your worries and cares over to God removes those factors and allows you to walk in the freedom and knowledge that God is taking care of all your circumstances.

How to pray effectively –

Pray daily. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Pray with others. (Ephesians 6:18)
Enter Gods presence with thanksgiving and praise. We have a lot to be thankful for. (Psalm 100:4)
Ask God for forgiveness and forgive others who have hurt or sinned against you. (Matthew 6:12-15)
Ask God to show you if there is any sin in your own life (Psalm 19:12-13)
Ask God that the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart would please Him. (Psalm 19:14) 
Declare Gods Word over your circumstances, reminding Him of His promises.
Pray in faith, expectantly and confidently believing that God is faithful and will answer your requests. 
Ask that Gods will is done and not your own.
Put on daily each piece of the heavenly armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-11).  
Cast all your care and anxiety on God and don’t try to pick it back up again (Philippians 4:6-7).
Ask God to order your steps and prevent you from going in the wrong direction. Realise that God orders your steps and gives you the desires of your heart when they line up with His will. (Psalm 37:23)

‘Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tyre?’ Corrie Ten Boom

Critical questions

Do I have an effective prayer discipline?
Do I need to pray more regularly?
Are there people I need to forgive?
Do I need to put on God’s armour?
Am I surrounded by others who pray?
Have I been challenged, and do I need to respond?

1 Timothy 2:1-3

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour.

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