by Josiah Robles
Prayer is protection. If Christian leaders neglect to come before God and humble themselves and their hearts before Him, they will not be able to resist the Devil and will quickly lose sight of God. If a leader does not have constant communion with the Father, they leave themselves vulnerable to attacks from the enemy. These attacks will quickly destroy and corrupt the leaders without them ever realizing, as they never went to God to be examined.
Therefore, Christian leaders must pray the prayer of “The Prayer of Examen.” This is a prayer in which we, with God, take a look back at our lives and see where God has worked in it. Then we ask God to reveal and bring light to problems and things that are keeping us apart from God. If a leader does not ask God to reveal to them what burdens them and what is keeping them from being closer to Christ, they will never be able to grow in spiritual maturity.
Be Anxious for Nothing
Christian leaders who choose to leave the life unexamined will face enormous attacks on their lives. They will feel overwhelmed and broken. For this reason Paul writes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6, 7). In this scripture Paul is demonstrating that without prayer we will be anxious about all things. A leader that is anxious and apart from God will not be an emotionally healthy leader or an effective leader.
The Church Must Come Together as One
Just as Christian leaders must develop a personal and intimate relationship with God, the church must come together as one in Spirit and pray together. A church that does not pray together will not be unified. Referring back to the epistle of James, we see instruction for the church to come together and pray over those that have needs. This is because God knows that we need each other in all things.
Just as a church comes together to worship God, the church must come together and pray to God. For we know through the words of Christ, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). When we gather as a congregation to pray, the Spirit of God is there, and the Holy Spirit within His people unites us. As stated by Paul to the church in Corinth, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (I Cor. 12:13). When we come before God as a church, God comes to us all in one Spirit and unifies us in one Spirit.
Unity of Spirit and Mind
A church that refuses or neglects to pray together as one, will not be able to come together in Spirit and mind. Unity of Spirit and mind is crucial to the church, as without it the mission of God cannot be accomplished. On a smaller scale, if a church cannot pray together, they will not be able to worship together. Prayer is worship.
Prayer is one of the most intimate forms of worship in which we open our hearts to God. If the church is not willing to open their hearts together to God, they will not be able to grow and mature in the faith. Very quickly, this church that does not pray together will lose the guidance of the Spirit and be taken by the enemy.
Watch and Pray
Christ warns us of this. He pleads with His disciples and says, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). He pleads with them because they will establish the first church that we find in Acts. He knows of the dangers of having a church filled with men and women that do not pray. Furthermore, Paul goes on to say, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18). Prayer is not something we “should” do as a church but is something that we need to do.
Connect with God
Prayer is how we connect with God and how God can guide us, our leadership, and our churches. Prayer is a lifestyle of communion with God in which we develop a deep intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father with the goal of becoming friends with Him. Without prayer, we will lose sight of what God has planned for our lives. We will lose sight of how God wants us to lead the people He has given us to lead. Without prayer, the church will fail to accomplish the mission of God. Prayer is more than a moment of contact with God. It is where we build our intimate relationship with him as an individual, leader, and church.