Prayer and Leadership.

Why pray?

With so much going on in life, it can be easy to relegate prayer to the back burner, but if you invest in prayer, everything benefits.

This past weekend was 4word’s second annual advisory board retreat.  I was blessed to spend the weekend with some terrific Christian women, and we spent a lot of time talking and praying about 4word’s mission and future direction.

In the car on the way home, my friend (and advisory board member!) Stephanie read some inspiring passages from In The Name of Jesus, a book by Catholic priest Henri Nouwen about Christian leadership.   I highly recommend the book to all of you, but in the mean time, here’s my favorite portion of what Stephanie read:

Christian leaders cannot simply be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time.  Their leadership must be rooted in permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source of their words, advice, and guidance… when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, true witnesses without being manipulative.”

I just love this passage because it brings everything back to basics.  We all want to be effective leaders, we all want to be flexible, convinced, willing to confront, gentle and forgiving, and “true witnesses” of God’s love.  And these things are possible!  But you can’t skip ahead.  They come only through intimate relationship with the Lord.   And how do we best develop that relationship?


It makes sense, right?  I mean, how do we develop relationships with each other?  We talk, we write, we facebook post, we communicate.   When you stop communicating with someone, you might still like them, even care about them, but your relationship suffers because you no longer know them on the same level.

Nouwen writes that prayer makes us better Christian leaders because it “deepens in us the knowledge that we are already free, that we have already found a place to dwell, that we already belong to God.”  What wonderful knowledge!  Just writing that out makes me smile.

As I think about the future of 4word, the same holds true; there are many things we want to be and do as an organization, but ultimately faith is the core.  My prayer for 4word is that our direction will always be God’s direction.