Rev. Leon H. Johnston
IN GOOD FAITH
“If you’re a leader, you’re in the battle of your life.”
That’s how Dan Allendar begins his book, Leading with a Limp, and after eight years of ordained pastoral ministry, I’ve found his words to be true. It’s not that leadership is all-out war. In fact, often it’s a great blessing.
But the fact is, leadership is tough. I’m currently reading the stories of Moses in the Old Testament. They are powerful stories on leadership. Can you imagine leading thousands of people through the wilderness on a 40-year journey? Moses faced exhaustion, discouragement, criticism and sabotage, and yet he remained faithful to his God and his calling through it all.
Perhaps he, more than anyone else in history, knows the challenges of leadership.
But I think the Apostle Paul of the New Testament also knew a thing or two about leadership challenges. Perhaps that’s why he instructs his young protégé Timothy (and all who read his letter) to pray for leaders. Listen to what he says: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers and intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV)
In this passage, Paul calls his readers to pray for all people. But notice how he singles out leaders among the people needing prayer. Why would he do that? Because he himself was a leader, so he knew the challenges of leadership?
Certainly. But also because, as he writes, “So that we may live peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness.”
In other words, pray for leaders, as they extend much influence over a community. If they flourish, we all flourish. It’s a compelling reason to pray for our leaders.
This gives me pause as a pastor. Do I pray for the leaders of our community, province, country and world? Sometimes yes, but probably not enough.
What about you? Do you pray for leaders? Or perhaps you don’t pray at all. If not, why not give it a try? You could say something like this: “God, as I look around me, I see many faithful leaders at work. I think of our mayor and City council and the solid leadership they give to our City. I think of the principals and teachers of our local schools, and how hard they work to teach our children. I think of the leaders of industry and business, and how hard they work to care for their employees. I think of the leaders of our churches, and how hard they work to mentor our kids in the faith. And I think of the leaders of our local clubs, associations and organizations who work hard to enrich our lives. Thank you for all leaders. Please encourage them. Please guide them in their calling. Amen.”
In addition to praying, you could pass on a word of encouragement. What I’ve found as a pastor is gratitude goes a long way. We’re motivated by words of affirmation.
Happily, prayer and words of encouragement come together on Feb. 19th at the annual Lacombe Leadership Prayer Breakfast. This is a golden opportunity to enjoy a tasty breakfast, connect with other leaders, pray for our leaders and learn about leadership.
And whether you can attend or not, please consider praying for and encouraging our leaders as they seek to serve this community.
Leon H. Johnston is pastor of Wolf Creek Community Church.