A Leader’s Honest Prayer

November 1, 2009 — 1 Comment

Lord, you are God and there is no other.

This morning’s rising sun declares your glory and reminds me of your Word and your Spirit. Nothing is hidden from their light and heat.

You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth. I am so glad that you are God and I am not.

Lord, I feel compressed. The pressures, the demands, the expectations of my leadership role squeeze me like a vise. This is a high season of ministry to others. You have led me to make commitments: to travel, to speak, to observe, to listen, to coach, to serve, to support others in their high calling of following you. I have been careful to seek your leading for each commitment. Now it’s game time. No one else understands or can fully appreciate the path I must walk for the next two months… except for you. Lord, take me by the hand and lead me. I am your trusting child. Help me fulfill my commitments and bear fruit that glorifies your name.

Lord, I feel tension. Like everyone else, I experience tensions between being and doing, people and production, cause and community, quantity and quality, running hard and resting in you. Your servant captures my heartfelt sentiments:

There is the tension between the need for organizational hierarchy with all the power dynamics this creates and the mutuality and inter-dependence of life in community to which we as Christians are called. There is the tension of knowing how to “work the system” and entering into trustworthy relationships characterized by trust and a commitment to one another’s well-being. There is the tension between the need for an easy discipleship process through which we can efficiently herd lots of people and the patient, plodding and ultimately mysterious nature of the spiritual transformation process. And then there is the challenge of knowing how to speak of these things in fruitful ways inside places of power without becoming polarized in our relationships with one another.

Compression and tension. Aren’t those the same two opposing forces that allow architects to erect their masterpieces of concrete and steel? Is not this dynamic interaction the source of strength for the human body, with the skeleton allowing for compression while the muscles and sinews work in tension? Does not the studied, disciplined training of these opposing forces allow the athlete to gracefully run and jump? The painter to draw out the most delicate brushstrokes from the palette? The musician to ply and pluck her notes with power and sensitivity?

Ah, yes, Lord. They are one and the same. My soul resonates with the song of your servant David:

For who is God, but the Lord?
and who is a rock, except our God?
The God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

Bring it on, Lord! Today awaits us!

Sources: Ruth Haley Barton’s Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Psalm 18:31-34

One response to A Leader’s Honest Prayer

  1. Oh how I resonate with this, Ken. Compression and tension. Knowing how to work the system but choosing to enter into trustworthy relationships. Speaking into things in fruitful ways and choosing to not become polarized. Who can grant us this wisdom except God? Who can sustain us except the Lord?

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