When I travel around the country with my Leadership Seminars. I have a Q&A times. While in Warsaw, Indiana, I received a question I don’t think I’ve ever been asked.
What prompted the question was my mentioning something by A. W. Tozer that is on the first page I look at when I open up my prayer book each day.
Has ever done
At any time,
He can do NOW
Has ever done
He can do HERE
Has ever done
He can do for YOU”
This quote by Tozer consistently challenges me to pray and think big because I serve an awesome and all-powerful Lord!
The question that I received was, “Would you please tell us about your prayer life?” I shared a bit with them about what I pray and how I pray. I won’t go into everything here, but let me camp on one item.
In my prayer book, I have one page devoted to things I pray for myself most every day.
On this page is a list of four things I pray for myself and pay very close attention to (Proverbs 4:23, I Timothy 4:16). I asked myself the question “If I was to ever disqualify myself and leave the race (see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27), what would the issue(s) be?”
For me, here they are. For others, it may be an entirely different list:
1. I pray for purity, and against lust
2. I pray for humility, and against pride
3. I pray for contentment, and against greed
4. I pray for patience, and against anger
I am trusting the Holy Spirit to work deeply, significantly and lastingly as He builds purity, humility, contentment and patience into my life. It’s my belief that more leaders fall over character issues than competency issues, so these four are character-based. Character traits are usually displayed in the context of relationships,
It was basketball legend John Wooden who said:
“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
When I pray for purity, it’s not just sexual purity (as important as that is) in being faithful to Susan (my wife of 55 years) in thought and deed, but also purity of motive in ministry.
I can lust for power, position, accolades, etc. In His work through me, I want to explore the why beneath the what. Why do I do what I do…what’s motivating me? Is it my kingdom or His kingdom I am building? Not always easy to determine, but I want the Holy Spirit to search my heart (Psalm 139:23, 24).
Humility is pretty straight-forward. Simply being the person God made me to be, no more and no less than this (Romans 12:3).
When it comes to contentment, I pray to be empowered to be content with:
- Who I am (no comparing or competing, wishing I were someone else)
- Where I am (not wishing I were somewhere else)
- What I’m doing (not wishing I was doing something else)
- What He’s doing through me (not jealous or envious of what He may be doing through someone else I know)
Patience: Not being in too big a hurry (which I usually am) and not getting ahead of Him (which I usually do).
I love the song, “In His Time.”
In His time, in His time
He makes all things beautiful, in His time
Lord, please show me every day, as You’re teaching me Your way
That You do just what You say, in Your time
In Your time, in Your time
You make all things beautiful, in Your time
Lord, my life to You I bring, may each song I have to sing
Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time
Isaiah 55:8, 9 makes it clear that my ways and thoughts are not always His ways and thoughts. As I walk with Him, in my sinful nature and flawed perception, He seems to be walking awfully slow!
Of the four, the one that scares me the most is patience/anger. I have sinned more in this area than any other. I have been angry with God and others when things were not going according to my time-table and liking. Each time it becomes clear, I repent, confess and ask for His forgiveness (and others).
How about you? What are a handful of issues that could be your undoing as a Christian and a leader? Why not write them down and pray regularly over them, asking for His mercy and grace to not be disqualified, but rather to finish well for His honor and glory.