The Leadership Journey – Letters to an Intern

#5 – Leaders Love

Ryan, I read recently in my devotional time a wonderful section from 1 Samuel. In chapter 12 God powerfully got the attention of his people and they properly responded with reverential fear. Then they ask Samuel the prophet and priest of Israel to pray to the Lord for them. After Samuel took the opportunity to comfort and challenge them, he says something that powerfully got my attention, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and right way.” (1 Samuel 12:23)

Samuel was a great leader in that he loved the people he was leading by not ceasing to pray for them. In fact, he raises the bar by saying that he would be sinning against the Lord by ceasing to pray for them. Praying for people may seem like a “no-brainer” in spiritual leadership, and yet this discipline can easily get lost with the myriad of other things a leader must do.

Leaders can easily focus on the things that are visible in the eyes of men and neglect the things that are visible only to the eyes of God.

Jesus set a wonderful example for us in that he repeatedly prayed for the people that he was called to lead and to love (1 John 17). The Apostle Paul followed suit.

I heard years ago that some pastors use people to build the ministry while others use the ministry to build people. Ryan, I encourage you to love people enough to regularly pray for them. This seems to be the practice of spiritual leaders in the Bible and the expectation of the God who called us to lead.

On a practical level, be very careful how you use the words, “I will be praying for you.” Those words can be as easily forgotten as they are stated. When you say those words, either pray there on the spot or write the name and request down to remind you to pray later.
Ryan, love people enough to pray regularly for them.