Min. Mengue M. Eka-abila
In the believing communities, prayer occurs usually in a routine fashion (family, prayer groups, congregation, school or university fellowships, weddings, funerals, etc.), and often during and after unusual occurrences such as church building dedications, wars, natural or man made disasters, etc.
As in any matter involving more than 1 person, prayer involving more than one person requires agreement and leadership. Leadership can be tyrannical (bad), poor (laisser-faire: everybody does what they want), and effective (good). When it comes to the kind of prayer that will touch the heart of God, only effective (good) leadership applies. Every Christian should be able to lead others in prayer. The Church needs to pray for her leaders to become more effective in their work.
A few examples of effective leadership in prayer:
Family: good leadership in family devotions consists of getting every family member involved in prayer knowingly as opposed to perfunctorily, whether it be routine daily prayers or payers for unusual events (crises, major decisions affecting the family, etc.).
- Acts 1:15-26. Here the disciples were facing a major decision as to who would replace Judas as an apostle. Peter took the lead.
- Acts 4: 23-31. This was a time of crisis (great persecution). The name of the prayer leader is not revealed: leadership is implicit here.
- Nation: 2 Chron 20:1-26. In a time of war against his kingdom, Jehosaphat led Judah (the Southern Kingdom) first in prayer, then in praise & worship, and later in thanksgiving.
- 2 Chron 1:2-3. At the beginning of his reign, Solomon led Israel to seek God’s face or guidance (intense praying).
- 2 Chron 6:12-42. Solomon led Israel in prayer during the dedication of the first temple of Jerusalem (a national event with universal ramifications).
- Ezra 8:21-23. During the repatriation of Israel from the Persian deportation, Ezra led Israel to prayer and fast.
Neh. 8:5-6. Ezra le the newly returned Jewish exiles in prayer in Jerusalem.
- Exodus 15:19-21. Miriam led the Israeli women into praising the Lord with tambourines and dances.
Examples of prayer for leadership:
- Acts 4:29-31; Acts 14:19-20. Church prays for leaders.
- Eph. 6:18-19 Leader (Paul) asks the church to pray for him.
- Neh. 1:5-11 Here the leader, Nehemiah, prays for his Nation and himself.
- Neh. 6:9; Ps. 86:1-17 (vv 4, 11, &17) Leader prays for himself.
Considering the above, can you imagine the consequences of not praying for church leaders, or of leaders who do not pray enough?