By Amy Thompson
As leaders, it is important to be intentional in your own personal spiritual development. Your personal commitment to growing in your faith could begin with many things. I would like to suggest prayer. An active prayer life can be a major piece to your spiritual development as you explore your relationship with God through quiet time, listening, requesting and conversation. My own prayer life dramatically changed a few years ago when a pastor recommended Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker. It has proved to be a powerful resource and continues to impact my spiritual growth.
As part of your own spiritual growth and for the growth of your church, it is important for a leader to surround work and decisions in prayer. When preparing the devotion for the fall Mission Council Retreat, I returned to the Batterson book for some inspiration about dreaming big and praying for God-size dreams. We as leaders and as churches often do not dream big. We as leaders sometimes struggle with knowing where God is calling us to be. We as churches often do no ask where is God calling our church to be. We have an awesome and amazing God seeking to work through us here on Earth if we would only ask and respond. As my preparation continued for the retreat, I received a book from the Bishop that he had shared with the members of Cabinet. As usual I flipped through the book and read pieces that grabbed my attention to determine if I wanted to read it from cover to cover. My attention has remained on the same two pages since I opened it nine days ago. I found a prayer that deserves the attention of all of us. Here are a few lines from the prayer:
Help me pray more. Connect me and You closer than ever before.
Moments when I listen to Your voice and discover Your will.
Times when I share my hopes and dreams with You.
Periods where I just sit in Your Presence.
You have visions and callings for me. Make it clear to me what they are.
Help me accept them. Empower me to live them out.
For me, as I pray about my future: Fill me with the desire to pray - big and bold prayers. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and God size my imagination. Through prayer, mold me into everything You have created me to be.
I challenge you to read these lines of the prayer daily and watch your spiritual life grow. I encourage you, as a leader in your church, to invite other leaders in your church to read this prayer daily. Consider changing the wording to reflect “us” or “the church” rather than “me” and have the leadership team of the church read it as you prepare for a retreat or planning meeting. This prayer is risky as it may lead you to some new places, new discoveries, new ministries, new encounters. My hope is you will accept that risk. The power of prayer will change you, will change your church, will change your community.
Prayer lines from Big, Bold, Faithful, and Frequent Prayer found in Prayers from The Water’s Edge by Craig Finnestad.