Leaders need to be men and women of prayer.
Paul’s counsel to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is for everyone, but leaders must set the pace:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
The primary means of living out the reality of “pray without ceasing” is to take every thought captive to Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5) and convert more and more of your thought life into prayerful conversation.
Here are some practical ways you can make prayer an integrated part of your leadership day.
Use Technological Reminders
I use Microsoft Outlook for mail, calendar, and tasks. I set up tasks with reminders to pray for specific people, specific needs.
It’s quick and easy to “convert” an email message about an illness or difficult situation into a task and set a reminder. When that reminder pops up I pray for that person.
A pastor friend of mine has a file folder system, including a set of 31 folders numbered 1-31 for each day of the month.
Each folder has notes about specific prayer requests. Part of his morning ritual is opening “today’s” folder and praying for the people and situations he’s noted there.
He transfers requests into a new folder named “Answered Prayers.” (That is a wonderfully fat file folder!)
“Attach” Prayers to Regular Activities or Objects You See Often
There are activities which you likely do often. Can you think of ways to link a prayer request to each?
- Brush your teeth – “May my words be clean and honor You.”
- Shampoo hair – “Thank you for cleansing my inward parts.”
- Open a door – “Bless my wife!”
- Clean your glasses – “Help me to see people as You see people.”
- Put on socks and shoes – “May my steps be a blessing to others.”
- Turn on the car – “Please grant me power to serve in the Spirit.”
- Open a book – “Teach me, Lord, what You want me to know.”
- Take the trash to the curb for pickup – “Bless those who serve our community.”
Use Passwords and Entry Codes as Prayer Triggers
You probably enter multiple computer passwords or door entry codes each day. Select passwords and codes to remind you to pray or ask for wisdom.
Variations on 4Him, WiseMan, LeadMe, King, with a few extra numbers or punctuation marks are both difficult to guess and good reminders to pray.
Parcel out Work into Prayer Segments
Experiment with ways to pray for individuals while you’re doing work that does not require your full attention.
For example, our yard has four sections to mow. I decide before starting which four people I’m going to pray for as I mow, one for each section. Same with shoveling snow out of the driveway.
Sometimes I decide on a different approach – “Lord, I will pray for whomever you bring to mind while I’m mowing.”
Take Prayer Breaks
We all need breaks during the day.
A nice, useful prayer break is to get a cup of coffee or tea, sit alone in a different place, and speak with God.
Let that prayerful conversation last as long as the liquid.
Rejoice, be thankful, listen for wisdom and direction, reflect, pour out your immediate concern – all of it.
What other ideas do you have which have helped you pray more frequently?