Jesus is the greatest example of a leader and every godly leader should strive to emulate His example of consistent and committed prayer. Unfortunately, Christ-likeness, in this regard, eludes so many leaders today. In addition to missing out on being like Jesus, these leaders miss out on many of the other benefits of a fervent prayer life. Here are ten things leaders who fail to pray always miss out on.
Leaders who fail to pray miss out on the joy of co-laboring with God (1 Corinthians 3:9). Instead of the exhilaration of answered prayer, they experience the monotony of ministry routine. Leaders who fail to pray miss out on what God could have done in and through them (James 4:2). God can sovereignly choose not to do what His followers selfishly choose not to pray for. Leaders who fail to pray miss out on God’s unparalleled power (Ephesians 3:20-21). Ministry quickly becomes an exercise of the flesh rather than a powerful work produced by faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3, James 5:16). Leaders who fail to pray miss out on God’s peace (Philippians 4:6-7). Instead of casting their anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:7), they struggle to fabricate ministry on their own, resulting in frustration, burnout and pride. Leaders who fail to pray miss out on victory in spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:10-20). Instead of wrestling in prayer (Colossians 4:12) they resort to passivity and lethargy. Leaders who fail to pray miss out on God’s blessing (2 Chronicles 7:14). Content with the status quo, they arrogantly get stuck with it. Leaders who fail to pray miss out on God’s heart. Praying in line with God’s will (Matthew 6:10, John 14:13-14), unites a believer with His heart for His world, His people and His ministry; leaders who fail to pray fail to acquire His heart for those they serve. Leaders who fail to pray miss out on God’s vision and direction. Instead of prayerfully acquiring God’s wisdom (James 1:5), they negligently rely on their own. Leaders who fail to pray miss out on partnership with other believers. Prayer is an instrumental component of authentic fellowship (Acts 2:42) and leaders who fail to pray for other believers alienate themselves from them. Leaders who fail to pray miss out on intimacy with God. Instead of uninterrupted intimacy with their Savior (John 15:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:17) they experience only a fraction of the fellowship they could be having with Him. This is undoubtedly the worst consequence of failing to pray.
Samuel understood that leaders who fail to pray for those they lead sin against God (1 Samuel 12:23). Unfortunately, I often do just that, following the example of Jesus’ disciples in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). If you feel the same way, I hope you’ll join me in confessing that failure as sin and recommitting to a vibrant prayer life. Andrew Murray encourages us writing, “Let us not make the feeble experiences of our unbelief the measure of what our faith may expect.” (1) I hope and pray your greatest years of prayerful leadership are still ahead of you.
(1) Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer (Valley Forge, Pa: Trinity Press, 2012), 31.