Leadership Intercession

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI’m thankful for leaders over the years that I could learn from as they walked out their faith. I can bring up pictures of leaders who have influenced me tremendously and some of them may not even be aware of it. Other leaders that I’ve followed, I’ve had the opportunity to tell them personally about how they influenced me. Some leaders who have influenced me have been family; some have been ministers and some have been hardworking business owners. One of the things that all the influential leaders in my life have in common is that they are prayer warriors. They prayed for others and me as I grew up. I’m so thankful for their “leadership intercession” on my behalf.

Nehemiah comes on the scene some 100 years later than the first exiles return to Jerusalem. The first wave of exiles was rebuilding the temple as well as the walls of Jerusalem. They were meeting some resistance and word got back to Jeremiah, who was still in captivity, but serving in the king’s presence. When news of this hardship reached Nehemiah, he began to grieve and intercede. Check this out…

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:

‘Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.

10 ‘They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.’

I was cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:4-6; 10-11 NIV)

There are times the most important leadership activity that I can do involves intercessory prayer. I can talk things out until I’m blue in the face. When I talk to the Lord I’m bringing Heaven’s Resources into play. I’m still learning the value and the power of prayer in any given situation.

I think leaders should pray more intensely than others because of the weight of the responsibility of the leadership position. I also think that prayer really changes the heart of the one praying. Prayer opens the way for humility to enter and pride to exit. I believe a humble leader is way more effective than a prideful leader. It’s hard to be full of pride when you’re praying for the people you’re tasked with leading. Nehemiah is such a strong example of servant leader in his position as cupbearer. He also was a strong intercessory leader before the Lord through his humility and intense prayer on behalf of his people. I want to lead like that. I want to intercede for the people I’m blessed to lead.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Entreaty

worship in prayerI’m not sure I’ve ever noticed this word before although it’s meaning is fairly simple. It simply means: “earnest request, or petition; supplication.” It sounds a lot like prayer to me. I like the word treaty, which is inside this word. Treaty is about an agreement or pact of some sort.

For all the good King Hezekiah had done, his son Manassah took it all down. This young man seemed bent on doing evil. He ignored the messages and warnings of the Lord. The Lord sent the commanders of Assyria and they took him captive. I think it took something of this magnitude to get his attention. Check this out…

12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. (2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NIV)

There are some important components of His prayer. I think the first part is seeking the Lord. The Lord is not hard to find. I’ve felt that He left before, but it was actually me that left Him. The second part of his prayer was that he humbled himself. I’ve said it many times before that pride is one of most destructive characteristics that I could have. The fact that Manasseh humbled himself was significant. His prayer moved the Lord. I believe that his prayer would have been nothing if had not humbled himself before the Lord.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures and responses. This young man was desperate and his humility and his plea moved the heart of God. If I could simply learn to seek the Lords heart and stay humble before Him, my journey with Him would have a depth that is hard to measure and comprehend. I have to keep my pride in check in order for my prayer life to have meaning. My entreaty is dependent upon the position of my heart. I can pray to the Lord to learn more about how to pray.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Power Prayer

Abstract Silhouette PrayingThere are times when I pray for different situations differently. For example, if a person asked me to pray for them, I usually pray right then. I’ve found that I can pray anytime, anywhere. I have also discovered that my prayer voice goes up a notch when I’m scared or hurt. I have also discovered that my prayer voice gets stronger when it’s someone I’m close to.

King Asa of Judah was a follower of God. He cleaned up the country from his predecessor’s leadership. He took down the shrines of idol worship and he led people back to God. The land was at peace because God had given him rest. This other king nearby thought that Asa could be picked off. Check this out…

9 Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with an army of thousands upon thousands and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.

11 Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”

12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. (2 Chronicles 14:9-13 NIV)

King Asa’s prayer was simple but powerful. I have a feeling that his “prayer voice” was pretty loud and high pitched. My power prayers are often relentless and desperate. King Asa does seem a bit calm from the text, but I imagine after seeing the vast army that had come to destroy him, he took his prayers up a notch.

I want to grow as a power praying man. I want to continue to walk with the Lord in such a way that He and I talk a lot about everything. I do believe that God hears my prayers and that He acts on them. He doesn’t always answer them the way I want, but I believe He always answers. I want to be a bold prayer warrior. I want to pray about everything and worry about nothing. I want my life to reflect the confidence that I have in God NOT confidence in my own gifts and abilities. In order to do this, I have to put my pride in check every day. I want to claim the words from James. Check this out…

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Amazing Prayer

 

Man praying with the BibleI believe in the power or prayer. Prayer doesn’t make me powerful, but I believe it admits powerlessness. I grew up learning about prayer and how powerful a tool it can be for a child of God. When my kids were small I prayed with them often. I remember one night when my daughter was really young; she prayed that it would snow during the night so that school would be cancelled. I tried to explain the weather systems to her and how it was way too warm outside to snow. She looked at me so innocent but very confident and said, “but God can change it”! I had no “comeback” whatsoever. God can do anything He pleases for sure.

I’ve heard the story of Solomon’s prayer but I saw a bit different perspective when I read this familiar story again this morning. Check this out…

6 Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the Lord in the tent of meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.

7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.(2 Chronicles 1:6-7;10-12 NIV)

There was nothing “showy or self-centered” about Solomon’s prayer. I found it significant that the Lord appeared to Solomon after he had been humbly before the altar in worship and offering sacrifices. The whole sacrifice ritual is one that I’m thankful that Jesus replaced. I’ve killed animals before and that experience shook me up at times. I remember the first time I killed a deer. I shot the animal from high up in a tree stand and when I came down to go over to it, it was still alive and I had to shoot it again. I can hardly imagine offering hundreds of animals as a sacrifice for my sin. I think the Lord wanted the death of the animal to disturb the person in such a way that they would not want to continue in sin. Solomon’s encounter with God happened after he had offered a thousand burnt offerings before the Lord. I have a feeling he was humbled and awed by the Power and Presence of God.

Solomon’s prayer was unselfish.

Solomon’s prayer was profoundly simple.

Solomon’s prayer admitted his own weakness.

The Lord’s answer to Solomon’s simple prayer was anything by simple. Not only did the Lord give Solomon wisdom and knowledge, but The Lord also gave him the other blessings that he hadn’t even asked for. I believe that a humble heart before the Lord gets the Lord’s attention like nothing else. Talk is cheap – anyone can pray an eloquent prayer, but a powerful and amazing prayer starts with a humble heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Finish Strong

finish line hang in thereI’m pretty sure that I’ve passed the halfway point of my life. My math is not that great, but I’m confident that I passed that point a while ago. I was reminded this morning that there is a difference in how you start and how you finish. I’m talking specifically about life – everyone starts and everyone finishes, but there’s a lot of life between the beginning and the end.

I was reading the linage of David this am. I guess I’m glad that this comes after reading about all of the kings and seeing a snapshot of their time as king. David had a successor on the throne of Judah all the way into the exile period. I was reminded of what a strong king David was only to see if start falling off one generation after him. David had a bunch of kids. The wisest man who ever lived was one of them. Solomon was David’s successor as king. Check this out…

10 Solomon’s son was Rehoboam,

Abijah his son,

Asa his son,

Jehoshaphat his son, (1 Chronicles 3:10 NIV)

I went back to see when the Northern Kingdom of Israel split from Judah. It was David’s grandson Rehoboam’s reign when it happened. It started under Solomon though. Solomon is known for his wisdom and riches. He started really strong as the successor of David. However, Solomon was heavily influenced by other cultures and he turned away from the Lord late in his life. He ended up doing evil in God’s eyes. Check this out…

6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. (1 Kings 11:6 NIV)

As I reflect on where I’m at in life, I really desire to finish strong. I’d want the Lord to know my heart completely and I want my heart completely devoted to Him as I finish up my life here on earth. I don’t want my success to trip me up in the least. I want to honor God with any success I have. I want to trust Him more. I want to see His Wisdom more even as I get wiser. I really hate that Solomon ended his life at odds with God who had so blessed him in so many ways.

I’m also praying for my kids – I’m thankful that they all know the Lord. I want them to know Him and follow Him all of their days as well. In life as in so many areas, it’s not just how you start that counts – it’s how you finish. I was reminded of a saying I’ve heard in playing golf : “it’s not how you drive, it’s how you arrive”. That little 18” putt can make a huge difference in the overall game. I’ve decided to meet with the Lord and talk with Him every day asking for wisdom and discernment. I’ve decided that when I do this daily, I can “win the day”. As I string some days together, they become weeks, months and years. Before long it will be the end and I really want to finish strong. The last day of my life, I want to have talked with Him so that when I see Him, He and I will still be “caught up”!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Determined Prayer

 

tired businessman rubbing his eyesI have had times of prayer over an event or decision that was very hard to work through. I remember with one particular decision, I was up praying in the middle of the night and I went to my computer and started writing out my prayer. I also started writing down the details about the weight of the decision. I remember very clearly deciding to leave this totally upon the Lord for Him to sort out. I was stressed. I was worried. I just didn’t know what to do. He directed my path and He answered my prayer according to His Will and His Purpose. I’m so thankful.

King Hezekiah was facing a huge threat to the kingdom of Judah. Sennacherib, King of Assyria had sent messengers telling Hezekiah what he was about to do. King Sennacherib defied the Lord God and ridiculed the people of God for following Him. Check this out…

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. (2 Kings 19:14-16 NIV)

I can imagine the king taking the parchments to the Temple and spreading them all out before the Lord. I think this is a good way to lay everything out before the Lord. I need to lay my budget before the Lord.

I need to lay my business plan before the Lord.

I need to lay everything in my life before the Lord.

Check this out….

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

I’ve decided to worry less and pray a lot more. I can pray to the Lord about the most trivial decisions as well as the monumental ones. He wants all my stuff placed before Him and He will lead me through it. He will take all my worries and stress and let me relax and simply trust in Him. This is really an amazing way to face the life before me. I will confess that worry still creeps in, but I have to tell it where to go.

My help comes from the Lord.

My trust is in the Lord.

He’s got this – whatever “this” is.

Pressing On!

Dwayne