5 Ways to Build Your Prayer Life as a Leader
Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Nehemiah 1:11
As a Christian speaker, writer, or leader, you already know that prayer is a critical part of your personal life. Without it, you recognize that the days are more difficult to get through and the blessings harder to count. You’re relying on the Lord for strength and courage, and this is a wonderful thing! But as a leader, you long to take your prayer life to a deeper level.
Whether you’re leading your family, a ministry, or a business team, building your prayer life to encompass your leadership role and responsibilities is critical. Developing your prayer life as a leader will propel you to a stronger relationship with the Lord and those you lead!
In Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah, the prophet, dives directly into a huge dilemma and his action steps provide a solution. This chapter provides incredible leadership insights for us even today! Check out these 5 ways to build your prayer life as a leader by following Nehemiah’s example.
- Actively seek out the prayer needs of group members.
Before Nehemiah hit his knees in prayer, he made inquiries. Nehemiah 1:2 says he questioned men who were visiting from his homeland. He wanted to know what the needs were; he was concerned and caring.
Leaders make themselves aware of the prayer needs of those they lead. They ask. They set reminders to pray. They inquire. They are purposeful and intentional. This is what Nehemiah’s question reveals to us. Ask yourself: Do I know the prayer needs of the people I am leading?
- Let prayer begin everything.
As soon as Nehemiah heard the news that the wall around his beloved city, Jerusalem, was broken and the people were in danger, he immediately turned to prayer. He knew that the situation was far bigger than him, but he also knew that it was not bigger than God. His heart mourned for his people and his sorrow fueled the desire to fast and pray before any other action.
Leading requires a heart for people and a desire to change things for the good. But Nehemiah exemplifies that God is the only One who can truly transform hearts and change circumstances. When we give everything to Him, yielding ourselves fully, then we have reached a point of being able to lead well.
Start with prayer! Whether that next phone call, meeting, or next step text, incorporate prayer into the beginning of every endeavor and just see what happens!
- Know God’s promises and remind your people of these promises.
After Nehemiah spent time mourning, fasting, and praying, he recorded the actual words of his prayer.
He begins: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments.” Nehemiah knew that God’s love is a promise to His children. He is ever a rewarder of obedience. He will never stop loving His children, even when they fail Him. But He does honor those who follow through with His Word.
The position of a leader is to be a pointer towards God’s promises. Praying God’s promises is a double-edged sword. It brings praise to the Lord as the Promise Keeper He is AND it serves as a reminder that God ALWAYS keeps His promises. There is not one that has ever failed.
- Keep a humble heart before the Lord.
In Nehemiah’s prayer, before he ever asks for deliverance or guidance or wisdom, he confesses the sin of the people. Of note, he doesn’t stop with the sins of the people, but he confesses the sin of his own heart and his own family. His goal in prayer is to make himself fully known to the God who loves him. In humility, he kneels before the throne of heaven and says, ‘I need your forgiveness; I am turning to You, Lord.”
If we are carrying sin in our hearts or burdens on our souls, how can we as leaders expect to receive the full blessing from God on our ministries and businesses? Prayer provides the opportunity to let nothing stand between us and our Savior.
- Remember to give God the praise for any successes the group sees.
Nehemiah tells the Lord that these are his people who have been “redeemed by his great strength and mighty hand.” (Nehemiah 1:10) Nehemiah knew that all glory belongs to God. He knew that only through God’s favor would he be able to present a rescue plan before the king. He asks God for favor because he knows that he does not have the influence or power on his own to accomplish the task ahead of him.
What successes do you have to praise the Lord for in this strange year of 2021? Taking time to lift those in praise to the Lord is a beautiful way to lead in prayer.
To sum it all up succinctly, in the words of Corrie Ten Boom:
Is prayer your steering wheel or spare tire?
In the comment section, please share any of your insights on the importance of prayer in your ministry or on any lessons you’ve learned on this important topic.
Looking for an excellent gift for anyone who needs encouragement? Check out the “31 Days of Prayers for the Heart Cards.” Maintain a leader’s heart of prayer through Rachel’s Beautiful 31 Days of Prayers for the Heart prayer cards. Easily place your favorite on display or transition through the set using one each day for a month. All cards securely rest in the display stand. Makes a GREAT GIFT!
Rachel Wojo hosts Bible reading challenges on her popular blog, rachelwojo.com, which rallies readers of all ages to search God’s Word for solutions to life’s problems. Her site has over 30,000 subscribers, and her six-week Bible reading plan for children is used by more than four million people worldwide. Rachel is the author of One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up and her list of works includes 2 ebooks, 14 self-published books, 2 traditionally-published books, and 3 traditionally-published collaborative works. She is also the Speak Up Growth Groups Director and the host of the “Untangling Life” Podcast.