For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers (Romans 1:9-10, ESV).
For years, as a pastor, I tried to faithfully pray for those on my team.
I think the crux of a good leader isn’t brilliance, good strategy, or winsome personality but faithful praying for those God has called them to lead.
Below are four things that I have learned in praying for my teams…
- Keep a prayer list.
Your team’s needs, strengths, weaknesses, and leadership personalities reveal over time. I would make a half page (now I use Microsoft OneNote©) in my prayer journal with a name at the top, giving me space to write as the Lord revealed. This revelation directed my prayers and leadership initiatives toward them.
- I would say their name when I prayed for them.
I believe praises are best sung out loud and the same with praying for others. Saying a name chases away errant or distracting thoughts allowing an interlude of peace into which the Lord can speak about the person in your prayers.
- I would set aside the same day each week to pray the list.
Staff and elders at the church on Monday; family on Tuesday; and church and business leaders in our community on Friday. I find that prayer lists need rituals for them to become effective. Consider an exercise routine – the benefits are written, executed according to a daily plan, and become habitual.
- I asked the Lord to speak to me.
As their leader, I had spiritual authority over my team. God wanted to use me to help them develop their calling and I was in a unique position to encourage and open doors for their ministry. Often God would tell me a problem, challenge, or even a hidden sin and I could then adjust my leadership initiatives accordingly.
As I was writing this Interruption, I considered many of the leaders who had been on my team over the years. Successes and too many failures!
I began to wander into self-doubt.
I think we all encounter this questioning self-doubt when considering the past of our leadership – the should haves and could haves!
During this musing, just as I was getting discouraged, the Spirit asked me, “Did you pray for them?”
I answered, “Yes!”
The Lord responded, “If you prayed, you did the best that you could; trust my grace for everything else.”
Wow – I believe what the Spirit said to me this morning applies to raising our children and grandchildren, along with our friends and family members.
That’s why Paul said in Romans chapter 1…
God is my witness that I prayed without ceasing for you!