As leaders, how do we approach prayer? I wonder if we have an aspect of skepticism or unbelief when it comes to prayer, affecting how we pray. Is there an area in our ministry or life that we think is beyond God’s response and blessing? A situation “not important enough,” “too audacious,” “too far off” or “too much” for the almighty God to step into and work in?
Let me tell you a story about obedience, an absence of faith and longview prayers centering on the principle that when we ask for bread, God will not give us a stone.
Many, many moons ago before my husband and I married, we attended premarital counseling. We covered a lot of ground during those sessions, but seventeen years later, this phrase rings out as the truest and of greatest significance: “Pray for the kids you are yet to have, for their friends and future spouses and for the families of their friends.” At the time, it seemed odd, if not ridiculous. Pray for the kids that don’t yet exist as well as spouses, families, and friends my kids will one day have. What?! CRAZY!
In obedience, we acted on the trusted wisdom of a sage counselor. Candidly, we couldn’t claim belief at the time, it was too far off, but we prayed. We prayed for the lives of our kids who had no form and our yet to be established family, their spouses we would one day welcome, and the families and friends we knew nothing of and could not picture. Nearly two decades of prayers later, with humble gratitude and praise, I can tell you God has blessed and responded to all those prayers and has been so very faithful. While our prayers have evolved and deepened over the years what was first unseen has now come into focus. Throughout these years the developed core of praying with expectancy and trust has not wavered.
God responded by providing amazing, so-far-untroubled kids and a solid family life. He gave our kids incredible, kind, safe and affirming friends who come from nurturing, loving, close families. He gave us the privilege to call some of these parents close friends. He nurtured an entire “circle” of people. While many of them aren’t yet Jesus followers, my husband and I often remind our circle how very much like Jesus they often act.
So how does this connect to women in leadership you ask? Simply this: Start praying for what is to come – the “way far out”, “way later”, “way off” prayers. Pray for the big dream, deep longing, crazy idea or preferred future you believe God is calling you to in the now and then wait for a long stretch of time to see how it unfolds. Be obedient, start to pray and open up the dialogue. Then continue in prayerful obedience for many months and years to see what comes. When Jesus prays “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I believe this sets the example for us as believers in how we are to pray.
These longview prayers over my kids have reaped dividends one hundred fold, but longview prayers aren’t for the faint of heart. It took at least five years to actually SEE tangibly any of God responses. Five years! To be fair, we are human and I’m fairly confident God started answering right away, but we humans aren’t the most observant sometimes.
I will say that the God-provided security, confidence, and trust in asking for things unseen has been exponentially bolstered by the experience of praying for my kids and then seeing how God responds. I understand much more clearly what it means to persevere and labour in prayer.
Mountaintop transformations start with bottom-of-the-mountain obedient and trust-filled prayers. May we be leaders who pray this way.
By Kim Savage
Kim Savage is wife, mother, ambitious career gal and most importantly a beloved daughter of the Most High King and follower of Jesus. Kim came to faith in her late teens through Young Life and she has spent most of her career in project management and leadership for the non-profit sector. Only in the last couple years did God call her into ministry. Kim currently serves at Gracepoint Community Church. She has a heart for the marginalized and believes that God calls His church to be His hands and feet in the world – making a significant impact in our communities.
We will explore more on Prayer at our P3 retreat October 17-19, 2018. I hope you can come and join us as we explore the life-giving gift or prayer as we lead. If you would like to register, please click HERE.