Tag Archives: leaders

Praying For Our Leaders

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Leadership is a spiritual gift, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.  It can be lonely, frustrating and disappointing.  We should take time to be thankful for the leaders in our life — in our family, our church, our work and our world.  Here’s a prayer for leaders I found that may help you do that.  You can read more by following this link:

https://www.a-spiritual-journey-of-healing.com/prayer-for-leaders.html

A Prayer For Leaders In Your Life

Dear God,

I stop and think of those who are leaders in my life…
in my home…
in my work….
in my country….
in the world….

Perhaps there is someone I find it hard to think of with love.

I hand over to you any anger or fear I feel.
In this moment, I send them love.

However I feel about them, in this moment, I see your love flowing into me and out from me to them.

Dear God, I ask you to feed these people on your wisdom and your understanding,
for their good and for the good of all they serve.

Let them recognise and take the authority that is theirs to take.

Thank you God for guiding them every step of the way.
Amen

“1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior…” -1 Timothy 2:1-3

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Fanning the Flame #8 — Prayer Vision

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“Pray without ceasing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17

One of our team assignments for Fanning the Flame this month is to write a personal prayer vision.  This means first describing what my prayer life is realistically like today and then forming a goal to work toward by the end of the year.  I admit that I am struggling, mainly because, for me, prayer isn’t a time I carve out.  I’ve tried having a quiet time, using a devotional, making prayer lists or using prayer journals.  It can’t seem to sustain these kinds of disciplines.  My mind is too unruly.  I don’t like to pray out loud with others. I find myself thinking about the person praying and what I am going to say when my “turn” comes. Words distract me from listening to God, which is what I really want to do when I pray.

Years ago I found this Frank Laubach quote (he was a Congregational missionary) that nails prayer for me:

“I really do believe that all thought can be conversations with thee.”

In the midst of my often chaotic and jumbled up brain, God is there.  The Bible tells us to “put on the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16  I don’t claim to have achieved this, but I do believe He’s part of my thought processes;  He sorts things out, He speaks to me, He guides me.  Sometimes a person comes to my mind and I just hold them up to God.  Sometimes an idea pops into my brain — something I wouldn’t have imagined on my own. Sometimes I wake up with an answer to a problem, which tells me God has been with me even during my sleep, as my mind worked unconsciously.   I don’t need words to pray, I just need to pay attention and listen.  This is prayer for me.

Now there are some other things that “feed” my prayer life.  I have found our Wednesday evening prayer sessions at church deeply calming and fulfilling.  We have a prayer list and pray silently for thirty minutes. It is powerful for me and a good discipline to pray with others this way.  I feel the presence of God and the comfort of Christian unity.

Music is prayer for me, and most especially the familiar words and music of the liturgy.  Here’s what Christian author Kathleen Norris says about that:

“The liturgy of the word is prayer.  You pray the scriptures with, and for, the people assembled and the words go out to them, touching them in ways only God can imagine.”

And of course, we Lutherans know how Luther loved music and St. Augustine of Hippo said:

“He who sings well, prays twice.”

God brings the words of hymns and spiritual songs into my mind all the time.

Study is prayer.  God speaks to me through the words of Scripture.  Often something jumps out in a passage I’ve read over and over yet never noticed.  Sometimes the words of a sermon touch my heart, and I know they are a message just for me.  Sometimes God places a book in my hand or a verse in my mind at just the right time.

My life is my prayer.  When I allow someone to interrupt my schedule because they need help or someone to listen, that’s prayer.  When I learn about my gifts and seek to use them in God’s service, that’s my prayer.  When I try to be “unoffendable” and put the needs of another person first, I am praying.

I don’t know how to separate my prayer life from my life.  Does anyone else feel this way?

This has gotten rather long, so I’ll continue later with my thoughts on how I could grow spiritually through prayer.  Right now I’d like to hear from others — what is prayer like for you?  What helps you to pray?  When and why do you pray?

It may sound as if I’ve strayed off our monthly topic (leaders) but the again, isn’t God our ultimate leader?  And isn’t prayer the way we hear from Him?

 

Leading Major Change by Jeff Iorg–Book Review

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The Lutheran ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have given it a second glance.  It is definitely geared toward Pastors and other ministry leaders involved in making major changes in their church or ministry.  However, since I am on the leadership team of our church and we are in the midst of a transforming process (Fanning the Flame), I found myself interested and excited to see what Jeff Iorg had to say about the process of change and how to lead people through it.

He begins by reviewing different definitions of leadership (our topic this month).  It’s not as easy to pin down as you might think.  My favorite was:

“Leadership is a process in which leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation, accomplishment and living.”

That is certainly what our congregation is trying to do through Fanning the Flame!

Dr. Iorg has led a number of organizations through major change.  His resume includes:  relocating a church, a church plant, major change in a Baptist Convention, and relocating and reorganizing a large seminary.  He uses his own experiences throughout the book to discuss the pitfalls and opportunities that are part of the process of change.  Also interspersed are brief testimonies from others (employees, laypeople, etc.) who have participated in some of these major changes.

I especially appreciated his emphasis on servant leadership, and the necessity of providing pastoral care for followers.  He reminds readers over and over that change is an event, but transition is a process which can continue for some time after the change.  It can be difficult for many, it can require great sacrifice,  and a good leader needs to earn and retain the trust of followers throughout the entire process.  Followers are the people who must buy in and accomplish the change.  Everyone involved must truly believe that the mission matters most.

“Leaders intend real change–and that is often painful.  It causes organizational upheaval and personal angst.  Leaders’ decisions sometime inflict pain on their followers.  Good leaders do not enjoy hurting others, but are responsible to make difficult decisions (in the short run) for the long-term benefit of advancing God’s mission and the particular mission of the organization they lead.”

Verdict:  I enjoyed this book, and will be passing it on to my husband and other leaders of our congregation.  It was readable and full of useful information and insights for those involved in change within a church or ministry.  However, it will appeal to a limited audience.  I give it four stars.  If you are interested in purchasing it, the link is below:

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/products/leading-major-change-in-your-ministry

New Month/New Theme

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Our theme for July is leaders.  Leadership is a big topic in the church today.  Peruse the shelves in your local Christian book store and you’ll find many volumes have been written about it. Here are some of the questions I hope we’ll be addressing this month:

  • What Biblical leaders do you most admire?
  • What does the Bible say about leadership?
  • What are the qualities of a good leader?
  • Are you a leader?  If so, what qualifies you?
  • Can we train members to be leaders?  Or is leadership a spiritual gift you either have or you don’t?
  • Who are the leaders who have influenced you in your Christian walk?
  • What are our responsibilities to those who are leaders of our congregation?
  • Should Christian leadership be different from leadership in secular arenas (i.e. business, politics, etc.)?

I look forward to reading what our authors and readers have to say.

 

Wisdom vs. Knowledge

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“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12

“Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this thy people, that is so great?” 2 Chronicles 1:10

The first verse above is attributed to Moses, and the second to Solomon:  two of the most revered leaders in the Bible.  Isn’t it interesting that they ask God, not just for knowledge, but wisdom.  Yes, there is a difference!  Knowledge is book learning.  We can get it by reading and studying the Bible.  If you can memorize verses, list the books in order, recite the history of the Israelites, then you have knowledge.  Wisdom is different.  Wisdom is knowing how to apply the word of God to life circumstances.  It comes from the heart rather than the head.

Here is a definition:

Wisdom means always acting according to the spirit of the Commandments and not looking for an ambiguity or omission which we can use to evade their true intent. Wisdom means understanding the consequences of our actions and words before we act or speak. Wisdom means having the knowledge and understanding to recognize the right course of action and having the will and courage to follow it.

Jesus criticized the Scribes and Pharisees severely.  They had the knowledge they needed to do what was right, but they didn’t use that knowledge wisely.  Instead of complying with the spirit of God’s law, and allowing it to change their lives, they sought to minimize it’s scope and effect.

I’ve been doing some reading about IQ vs. EQ.  This is a similar dichotomy.  Having a high IQ means we can acquire knowledge quickly and easily.  EQ (Emotional Quotient) means we can understand and control our emotions (and those of others) and adjust our actions accordingly.  Unsurprisingly, those with high EQ make the best leaders.  You need heart knowledge as well as head knowledge to become a good leader.

So, as you study the Bible this week (and I hope you do) pray along with Moses and Solomon for wisdom to apply the learning.  And remember, God loves you and so do I!

 

 

A Praying Mother

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…Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers or addicted to much wine, but teachers of good. In this way they can train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, managers of their households, kind, and subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be discredited.…Titus 2:3-5

Mother’s Day was Sunday so I just want to say, if you had a praying mother, give thanks.  She was one of God’s gifts to you.  And if you didn’t, give thanks to the Christian woman who taught you to pray, because I bet there was one.

One of the things I learned on my Via de Cristo weekend is, we are all leaders because we all influence others. I am a shy, private person so even as an active Christian, I never thought of myself as a leader.  The Bible tells us otherwise.  In the quote above we learn that we are constantly teaching others through our life and our behavior.  Did you know that when people are asked who has had the greatest influence on their spiritual life, the most common answer given is “my mother”?  I bet grandmothers and other older women are in that mix as well.  Did you know that the Bible says many husbands are ” won over without words by the behavior of their wives”?(1 Peter 2:1)

If you are not a mother or wife, you can still teach someone about prayer.  I challenge you to watch War Room (mentioned in one of Beth Ann’s posts) to see “passing it on” in action.  Each of us can and should be a mentor to someone else.

In the meantime, think about who taught you to pray.  Was it your mother, your grandmother, your Sunday School teacher, your friend?  Please comment, I am waiting to hear your answer.

God loves you and so do I!