Leadership Prayers

Introduction to Leadership Prayers

Recommendation by Michael Paddy, Resident Minister at Grand Canyon Community Church:
Leadership Prayers is a book for those people who care enough about great leading and following to think rigorously about it and to open their spirits to do something about it. If you are now leading, want to lead, feel called to lead, are obliged to lead, or are responsible for choosing or guiding leaders, you will find this book valuable.

Leaders do not pray to inform God of what is happening. He already knows. And they do not pray to get him to do what they want. He already wants what is best for everyone involved.

Leaders pray to maintain the right relationship with God. From that relationship between the human spirit and the Spirit of God comes the divine perspective, insight, direction, and courage the leader must have to serve well. To keep from blundering into either hubris or despair requires a special sense of vision and balance that comes in a unique way from the Spirit of God through prayer. Ultimately, prayer determines the leader's effectiveness in what matters most—the eternal matters of the human spirit, including the leader’s own spirit.

Jesus taught us to lead creatively and wisely, but he refused to tell us exactly how to do it. He just said that the Word of God must be our Truth, and that he would leave his Spirit to guide ours. He also told us to pray.

Jesus taught us to lead creatively and wisely, but he refused to tell us exactly how to do it. He just said that the Word of God must be our Truth, and that he would leave his Spirit to guide ours. He also told us to pray.

When we answer the call to lead, we commit ourselves to enable others to see their dream more clearly and somehow make it happen. Thats spiritual business, and it cannot be done well without effective communication with the Spirit of God through prayer. When we lead well, exceptional achievement is possible. That is why we answer the call to lead. It is also why we follow great leaders. And it is why leaders pray so fervently.

By their nature, these prayers live only when they are internalized; they have power only when they are applied to real-life challenges. Skimming over them to get the main ideas will mean little because this is not a nifty new management technique. These are thoughts and prayers about leading people—not by the hand or by the nose or even by the intellect, but through the spirit. Do not let the simplicity of these prayers fool you. If leadership were easy, everyone would be a great leader. Great leadership is from the spirit. The life of the spirit may be simple, even obvious, but it is never easy. 

These are meant to be real prayers for individual leaders or for leadership groups, from the Board to an ad hoc task force. They evolved over many years of hard use while God was teaching me lessons I was not always sure I wanted to learn. They have been tested and confirmed by other leaders and have produced good results in me and the people I care about. | offer them to you as a pragmatic idealist trying to influence a chaotic and threatening world toward the values of the kingdom of God.

"I still read and reread Leadership Prayers and am thankful for it! Dusted off my copy of Leadership Prayers this morning to read through once more, (well worn) wanted to thank you once more for this book. I must have given away a hundred copies or more of this over the years and have had many good comments! Was sharing with a general manager here about employment turn over, keeping good employees, he said, 'I have even prayed, hoping God will hear me and help.' I asked him what he is praying...he stumbled a bit and said he doesn't pray much so it’s always just about helping employees stay... I had one of my personal copied of Leadership prayers left that I have scribbled in. Gave it to him and told him to read first and then turn his reading into a quiet moment between him and God and try to make the written words his own personal prayer...He said he'd try..." 

Recommendation by Brian Mount, COO of Hume Lake Christian Camps:
The book Leadership Prayers was previously unknown to me before receiving it. I considered myself knowledgeable on these types of books where leadership praxis and faith intersected, but not so with this one. Steve was a seasoned leadership mentor of mine, although our relationship started in an unlikely fashion. In my early days at a large Christian parachurch camping ministry, our organization brought about changes that thrust me, albeit unwillingly, into a ministry career path that I was not prepared for. My training and background were on the "people side" of faith-based work, but I was asked to step into the operations side. And that meant reporting to our ministry's COO, Steve, rather than a manager under whom I had previously grown to thrive. I resisted the move because my identity was wrapped up in a role rather than an understanding of my own gifts and talents. In my new operations role, Steve patiently (most of the time!) took me under his wing and began teaching me the more operational aspects of the ministry. Steve's marketplace background in Operations was broad. I was raw and not Ops material, but Steve saw something different. He encouraged me when appropriate and confronted me hard when needed, sometimes really hard. Steve was a big man with a giant smile and an equally giant laugh, a contagious laugh that made you want to laugh, too. A large man with a large personality that could be both imposing and simultaneously give you the confidence to do things you never thought possible. Steve and I eventually left the camp ministry around the same time, both as casualties of a messy board & executive director feud, sadly so common with large, success-driven ministries like ours. A lot of time passed. Too much. We both pursued other career ambitions. Steve eventually retired but continued to coach and mentor young leaders he had connected with along the way. Steve’s driving mantra and singular purpose in this stage of life was to develop the next generation of leaders, with an emphasis on affirming them whenever possible. Pastors, parachurch leaders, husbands, and dads, you name it. It didn't matter; Steve made himself available. Meanwhile, I found myself on a continued ministry trajectory that included global missions and church ministry, balancing classic "people-oriented" roles and growing in my depth of knowledge and desire for the more operational aspects of ministry. I enjoyed both, and the doors kept opening. Eventually, I became the COO of a large missions agency and couldn't believe how far the Lord had brought me. I wondered if I ever would have been considered for the opportunity if Steve hadn't mentored me many years prior, much of it against my will. He saw something in me I didn't admit to myself, and he called it out. Sixteen years later, I found myself in a career transition, considering another COO role at another large camping ministry. I was torn, should I pursue it? It would mean an unwelcome move and a massive change for me and my family, all during the uncertainty of the initial waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. I felt the role was crafted especially for me, and the Lord was drawing us to His purposes through this well-known and well-respected ministry. I decided to reach out to my friend and mentor, Steve. Why do we let so much time pass between some relationships? I wanted to get his perspective on being a COO of a large camp, the issues, the challenges, the opportunities. What did he wish he had done differently? And did I mention that the ministry I was considering joining was the same ministry that had been a regular part of Steve's family's camping experience for decades? Steve's gentle yet penetrating questions led me along a praying and discerning path that would eventually lead to me accepting the role. And with it, a renewed relationship with an old friend and mentor. I began my early days at the camping ministry meeting with Steve weekly. We'd talk financials, strategy, navigating challenging relationships, marriage and family, and life in general. It was a two-way street. This mountain of a man shared with me his personal and family struggles. Family mattered more than anything to Steve. But I noticed something different between Steve now and the Steve I knew 16 years prior. Steve prayed big, bold, passionate prayers as if he believed he was talking to God himself. Steve had prayed before, but this was entirely different. Like a good Cabernet, aged in barrels over time, his prayer life came to fruition and characterized this new "Steve 2.0" I was getting reacquainted with. Steve developed a nasty cough during this new mentoring season that persisted in many of our meetings. The cough eventually revealed cancer literally throughout his entire body. He fought hard, but it was too late. He passed into the presence of Christ quickly within a matter of weeks after the initial diagnosis. I was devastated. I felt the combination of intense personal loss of a dear friend, intense sadness for his family who loved this great man, and I felt personally exposed to a role that I felt underqualified for. A position in which I had been the recipient of sage advice and a listening ear every week from a towering man that came abruptly to an end. A week after his celebration of life service, I received a small package in the mail from his widow, Judy. It was a worn version of the book Leadership Prayers. Included was a handwritten note from Judy: "Found a box of all of all the books Steve was using to mentor with. He had been given this one as a gift and it was well worn. I knew right away this must be for you." That was it! Somewhere along the way, Steve decided to anchor himself in prayer, and over time, he prayed big prayers as if he were praying to the God of heaven, and he was. I keep the book on my desk, with Judy's note as a bookmark, and reference it often. It's a reminder of a great big man with a great big laugh and giant prayers. I now give it out to my own circle of young leaders the Lord has allowed me to impact, as well as new leaders at my organization. And I always reference Steve's story. Steve’s legacy lives on in me, and countless other leaders, and I’m forever grateful.

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