I got one of “those” emails last week. After reading the first few words of the first sentence, my heart had already sunk and thoughts of anything else I was working on were flushed from my mind. All my attention and energy were focused on this current crisis. Simultaneously, my mind began thinking about damage control, the history of the associated relationships, what I had or had not said and done to contribute to the problem, resources to call upon, and development of a strategy to solve the problem. But there is one very important thing I forgot to do.
If I had done that one thing, it would have improved my mental state and ability to think clearly about the situation. If I had done that one thing, it would have improved my emotional state and ability to respect all the people who are involved. If I had done that one thing, it might have even changed the situation, thus reducing the need to intervene at all. What is that one thing? Prayer.
Prayer? Yes, but some of you are asking, “What does God care about the fact that Janet failed to get her reports in on time, for the fourth time in a row, slowing down production and delivery and perpetuating the customer complaints?” Or, “God has more important things to do than give me direction about this job offer.” Or, “Why pray? God may be listening, but I never hear him talk.” God does care, he doesn’t have more important things to do, and maybe you’re the one not listening.
For example, as I write this post, I’m asking God for the words to type even though it’s just a blog article. I want to write what he wants me to say because I believe that he wants to use this message to talk to someone. Is it you? God does care. Your leadership is important to him, and he wants to use you to influence others on his behalf. If you haven’t heard what he’s had to say so far, make sure you are tuned in to the right “channel.”
A good analogy for understanding prayer is parenthood. When a child is concerned about something, what good parent doesn’t want to hear what’s on the child’s mind—no matter how trivial it is. Sometimes, the child may also ask a direct question, “Should I take this path or that?” Often the wise parent won’t answer directly, but instead reminds the child of previous life lessons, or tells a story, or recalls a past family experiences together. This interaction only makes sense, though, if the parent and child have a meaningful and growing relationship. They have to know and love each other.
I assure you, God knows and loves you. He knew you before you were conceived (Jeremiah 1:5). He designed you and knows every detail about you (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7). He values you above the rest of creation (Matthew 10:31; Luke 12:7). He loves you so much he put everything at risk for you (John 3:16).
The only thing that’s left is for you to get to know him.
- Do you spend time reading the book he wrote? It’s his most direct message to help you understand him and the world you live in.
- Do you spend time listening to and singing music that describes him and his love for you? Music is a very special gift of feeling and communication.
- Do you spend time with other people who have known him longer? Their experiences can help you get to know God better.
- Do you spend time enjoying what he created for you? This earth is a temporary home but he designed it in a way that reveals a lot about himself.
- Do you spend time opening your heart to him, by talking about it or writing down your thoughts and feelings? Talking and journaling are forms of prayer.
If prayer isn’t a big part of your leadership strategy, it’s probably because your relationship with King of Kings and Lord of Lords isn’t as deep as it could be. I’ll be honest and confess I am not a “prayer warrior.” (My wife is a prayer warrior. She spends a great deal of time talking with the Lord about anything and everything. Although, she’ll also tell you she wants to spend more time in prayer.) The greatest area of growth in my faith over the past few years has been my prayer life and I’m still learning to integrate that into my leadership. Is prayer part of your strategy?
Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.
Photo “The World Turned Upside Down” by Calvin Cardenas. Available at Flickr.com.