I participated in the National Prayer Assembly hosted by America's National Prayer Committee and was asked to lead prayer for emerging leaders. I think of an emerging leader as one whom God is lining up to lead. It's not a distinction of chronological age, but rather the work of God--children and youth can be emerging leaders as well as older people. It depends on whom God is in the midst of preparing to release into leadership.
We must be praying for these people now. Here are seven things to pray for emerging leaders:
Leaders’ authority and ability to lead comes primarily from a vibrant relationship with God, not from talent, knowledge, or spiritual gifting. Leaders partner with God to accomplish the impossible and aren’t satisfied doing even amazing work that comes from their own hands. They exceed their natural potential by working together with God in accordance with his will. Most of the amazing work done in our world was done on natural ability alone, so imagine what’s possible when we partner with God.
The leader is a student of the Bible who studies it often to stay grounded in God’s ways. Without a firm foundation, the leader can be deceived and in turn deceive followers. Therefore, the leader is committed to being shaped by God’s word so he can discern God’s will. As the culture continues to shift away from biblical values, it’s vital to stay grounded in God’s word.
The leader has a deep, godly character and good reputation. The fruit of the Spirit is evident in his life. He values the development of character over the attainment of results. He is beyond accusation of immoral behavior and surrounds himself with accountable relationships to protect personal integrity. It’s an easy temptation for leaders to value what they’re doing more than who they’re becoming.
Not just giving lip service to prayer, the leader is devoted to personal and corporate prayer. He prays through decisions to seek God’s guidance and friendship and prays with others on a regular basis. Prayer is not practiced as an “obligation” or “best practice,” but as a passionate desire of a sincere heart. Prayer is the root of your relationship with God, so a strong prayer life will yield a strong life in God.
If leaders are married and have children, they’re committed to building strong marriages and families before work and ministry. Their spouses feel like they’re the most important person in their life. They raise children to love God. And they encourage others to do the same. Disintegration of marriage and family is a battle that leaders must overcome.
Leaders are called to live by faith, which is what they don’t yet see manifested. At the same time, they have to work from sight, which is the current manifested reality. They motivate others to see the future vision, but work well with what they have now. Leaders can lead from both realms. We need leaders who can see by faith, but practically can lead until what was faith becomes sight.
Leaders who can build successful teams accomplish better work than on their own. They know their strengths and weaknesses and enlist others to fill in the gaps. Leaders aren’t just interested in finishing the project, but building up the people involved. They also have a good handle on technology and rather than being mastered by it, can master it. As online accessibility, information, and technology increases, an independent spirit in leaders can stifle teamwork.