Today’s post is written by guest writer, Andrea Hamilton Binley.
What is one thing that sets apart many spiritual leaders from the GREAT spiritual leaders? Their prayer life.
Prayer is one of the biggest privileges we have as team leaders—and one of the biggest necessities.
The apostle Paul’s leadership of the early churches he oversaw included consistent, positive, and bold prayers for them:
- He wrote to the Romans that he unceasingly made mention of them in his prayers. (Romans 1:9-10)
- He told the Ephesians and Philippians that he never stopped thanking God for them. (Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:3-4)
- Informed the Colossians (in what might be my favorite of Paul’s introductions) that he’s praying:
“… [they] may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Seeing the priority Paul placed on prayer and intercession as an example, let’s fight the tyranny of the urgent that so often tempts us to attack our to-do list before we lift up prayers for the teams we lead.
How can we embrace the amazing honor of prayer and make it an integral part of our leadership style? How can we keep it as a priority in our daily lives?
It’s worth dissecting the concept and creating a strategic plan. Below are three specific aspects of praying for our teams that may help you find YOUR best approach to interceding for those God has entrusted to your care.
1. What: Understanding Intercession
In the New Testament, the word enteuxus is used for intercession; it carries the idea of meeting with. It’s you, meeting with God, petitioning for others.
If you have a team member who has a need, a struggle, or even an attitude problem, those are all perfect opportunities to enteuxus—to come before God with them in mind and ask for His help.
These prayers are powerful not only because we have a God Who hears and supplies needs, but because it’s usually not possible to pray for someone for very long and still hold on to an offense, annoyance, judgment, or frustration towards them.
Interceding often gives us SUPERNATURAL COMPASSION for people, as well as guidance and wisdom regarding how to interact with them.
Oswald Chambers says that real intercession involves bringing a person or circumstance before God until you are changed by His attitude toward it (Utmost.org—Intercessory Prayer).
We are meant to be part of change and breakthrough in the lives of the people we shepherd.
Sometimes we can let them know we’re praying for them; sometimes we should just keep that secret with the Lord. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in this. It’s situation-specific because He knows how they’ll take it, and what it will do in your heart to share it. They call it a SECRET place, or a “prayer CLOSET,” for a reason, so you’ll sometimes want to keep your intercession on the D.L.
Intercession takes time, focus, and faith! It’s not always the easiest response to the challenges of leadership, but it’s the most powerful. But remember that our prayers affect eternity and that God is calling us to press into Him and petition on behalf of those around us.
2. When And Where: Finding An Intentional And Specific Plan To Pray
You need to carve this prayer time into your week. Put thought into how, when, and where you’re going to pray for your team.
When I first started my current role directing a department, intercession was continually getting lost in the shuffle. I decided I needed to establish a set habit, which for me was heading to our auditorium once a week and praying over the people who serve on our weekend service team.
There’s something special about this habit that wouldn’t exist if I just tried to include all these people in my morning devotion time.
I have a long way to go, but this set time and space has already helped me be a more dedicated intercessor for the team I serve. Try it out!
3. Who: Define And Organize Who You Will Pray For
Who is currently on your team? If you have an updated roster or comprehensive list, that’s a fantastic tool to hold on to for your prayer times. If you don’t, maybe it’s time to make one 🙂
List out who serves with you and who serves in the ministry you oversee. It’s great to pray for random people that pop into your head, but to intercede well for your team during your designated prayer time, a list is incredibly helpful, especially as the team expands.
On top of gathering and praying over that list, take the time to observe whether the Holy Spirit may be highlighting someone in particular from it.
On a given day, one or two team members may stand out on the list in your prayer time. Make sure you pray specifically and thoroughly for them.
If you know of anyone on the list who is struggling, has a big need, or has been rubbing you the wrong way(!), pray for those people in specificity as well.
Ask God to provide, intervene, heal, and, last but not least, to activate you as an influencer and servant in that situation. He may show you how you can partner with Him and help answer your own request.
Another tip I’ve been learning: a lot of times when an issue comes up in ministry, you don’t have to make a decision instantly. Delay your decision to the next day, and bring it before the Lord during this prayer time. Ask for wisdom and find out what His will is.
Then, remember to get back to the person or people that need to hear your decision. Maybe that last sentence is more for me 🙂
Whatever you think may work, try it. Take some intentional steps to intercede better for those you lead.
What can you do to ramp up your intercessory skills? Leave a comment below and let us know!