The Leader at Prayer (ZT Fomum)

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What must be the quality of the praying of a leader? We shall look at the prayer of Nehemiah and learn something from his example. We can sum up all of his prayer by saying that it was based on knowledge. The leader’s praying must be based on knowledge.

 

“O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments; let thy ear be attentive, and thy eyes open to hear the prayer of thy servant which I now pray before thee day and night for the people of Israel thy servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against thee. Yea, I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances which thou didst command thy servant Moses. Remember the word which thou didst command thy servant Moses, saying, ”If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your dispersed be under the farthest skies, I will gather them thence and bring them to the place which I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power and by thy strong hand. O Lord, let thy ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants who delight to fear thy name; and give success to thy servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man” (Nehemiah 1:5-11).

INTRODUCTION

We shall not go into the leader’s need of prayer. It suffices to say that any leader who is not fundamentally a man of prayer has failed. His appointment was false. The leader who does not make prayer his primary task is a traitor of God and a traitor of the people he is supposed to lead. He may be very gifted; he may have a lot of grace but if he is not first of all a man or woman of prayer, he is a traitor. His failure is guaranteed. In fact he has already failed.

The first apostles said that prayer was their number one duty and that the ministry of the Word was their number two duty. They were to give themselves to these primary duties and leave the rest of the people to carry out the other duties. The leader who prays and teaches the Word has fulfilled the call of God on him.

Today there are many traitors in the ranks of the leaders of the church. There are many who have never enrolled with Christ in the school of prayer. There are others who do not want to enrol in the school of prayer, for in that school the secret things of the kingdom are accomplished in the immediate presence of the God of all holiness, and carnal men have no hunger for His immediate presence.

The Day of Christ will expose many of the impostors who call themselves spiritual leaders. The quality and quantity of their praying will be examined by the Lord whose current work on the throne is prayer, and they will be shown for the fakes that indeed they are. Then most of them will be shown to be lasts and not firsts; for in the way that God grades things, the score in prayer determines everything. The Lord Jesus knew these things very well and that is why He made prayer His greatest priority. He gave it the best hours of His day when He was most alert, and He gave it long periods. There were times when He tarried so long at it that the disciples had to go and drag Him away (Mark 1:35-39). Sometimes He spent whole nights in prayer (Luke 6:12). He fasted for forty days and possibly prayed throughout all that time. He is on the throne now praying. He is the very first. Those who are next to Him are those who have made progress in prayer. The lasts are those who spend very little time in prayer and whose prayers are of poor quality. Are you ahead of those you lead in your prayer life? If not, you are not their leader.

However, the leader is not only called to pray much. He must pray well. Quality is indispensable. The question is, “What does he say to God? How does he say it? What is accomplished by what he says?”

THE LEADER AT PRAYER

What must be the quality of the praying of a leader? We shall look at the prayer of Nehemiah and learn something from his example. We can sum up all of his prayer by saying that it was based on knowledge. The leader’s praying must be based on knowledge.

1. AN INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

The leader must know God personally and intimately. He must have walked with God for years and grown very close to Him. Out of this knowledge a loving, holy fear must have developed. Nehemiah said, “Oh Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible ...” Nehemiah had known God for years yet he had not grown over-familiar with Him. He loved the God he knew and true love always maintains very deep respect. There is something of a hesitation to call the name of the object of love. Yes, “Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible!” There was this holy fear, yet there was the intimacy that gave him the boldness to approach Him. He was the God of heaven, yet intimacy brought Him within reach. He remained the God of heaven, but He was not the unreachable God of heaven. He is indeed the great and terrible God, yet He could be approached, reached and known, not only as the Creator but even more as the Father.

Such an intimate knowledge is derived from years spent in His presence and from growing degrees of approaching Him. The leader must possess this.

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