It would seem that one of the most challenging spiritual disciplines for Kingdom leaders to build consistency in is prayer. Often our prayers are more perfunctory in nature, similar to saying grace before a meal, but without much unction or personal depth and lacking strategic intent.
We are reminded in Ecclesiastes 5:2 (ESV), “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.” Though we may pray with words, God is listening to our hearts.
In Luke 18:1 (NIV), Luke interprets the meaning of the parable of the persistent widow going before the judge, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Jesus knows it is hard for us to persevere in prayer when answers are a long time coming. Therefore, we are encouraged to keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking until we receive, find and the door finally opens (see Luke 11:9-10).
Here are three foci for the prayer life of a Kingdom leader:
Pray for Yourself
- Personal Growth and Change – Christlike character, Wisdom – Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:5
- Personal Promises – 2 Corinthians 1:20; Acts 13:46-47
- Personal Needs and Desires of Your Heart – Philippians 4:19; Psalm 37:4
Pray for Others
- Family members – Matthew 10:34-39; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30
- Those we lead
- Their Spiritual Growth and Change – Christlike character, Wisdom
- Lordship of Christ in all areas of life as they follow Him
- Vision for Disciplemaking and Spiritual Generations – that they may see the harvest
- Their Personal Needs and Desires
- Lost friends and acquaintances
Pray for the World-wide Harvest and Laborers
- Current Laborers (disciplemakers) in the harvest – Matthew 9:35-38
- New Laborers (disciplemakers) for the harvest – Isaiah 6:8
- Surrender of yourself and your willingness to volunteer for engagement in the harvest
- Strategic prayer for unreached peoples – that they will have the Gospel – Isaiah 49:6; Psalm 2:8
This is not a prayer time, but rather, the prayer life of a Kingdom leader! Prayer is a moment-by-moment connection and communication with the living God. It is learning to cultivate that connection as we go throughout our busy days. Yes, we will have focused concentrated prayer times, but we want to establish a prayer lifestyle, learning to pray continuously as we go about our days.
This is not saying prayers, but rather, praying – pouring out our hearts to God! “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 ESV
So, how’s your prayer life?