They are targets of intense criticism. They get blamed when things go wrong. They are ignored when things go smoothly. The ones who have hearts that belong to God are always mindful of the people who need their leadership and help. They are often unpaid and unappreciated. Those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing do untold damage. Those who are Shepherds spend much time in prayer for the flock. How often do you pray for and encourage your leaders?
It seemed like Saul would be a great king. Towering above most men and enough swagger and charisma to charm a nation, Saul was made king. And he was a good king. For a time.
A friend of mine had two sermons on two Sauls – King Saul of the Old Testament and pre-Apostle Saul in the New Testament. The Saul of the New Testament was a bad man gone good. Unfortunately the Saul of the Old Testament was a good man gone bad.
Our prayer text for today is 1 Samuel 15:10-11.
Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions.” So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord all night.
While we can talk about the failed rule of King Saul, I’d like to highlight the love that Samuel has for God and His People. He recognizes Saul’s failure and spends his night praying to the Lord.
What could change if we would spend nights praying for our leaders? I’m thinking about our Elders and Deacons and the often thankless tasks in which they are involved. Have you ever considered the time away from their families they spend as they do their best to serve the church? Or how it feels to their spouses to hear whispers of criticism – often from people who have no intention of trying to help?
Could a new spirit be energized in our tired leaders if they knew we were consistently praying for them?
As we enter a new year would you commit to praying often for your church leaders?
Not only prayer, but would you intentionally speak words of encouragement and strength into their lives?
Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. ~1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
I believe that when our leaders are strong in Christ and know that the people of the church are behind them then we will have leaders serving at their best.
Yes, I know there are leaders who, like Saul, should not be in that position. Pray for the leaders that serve with them to have wisdom to know how to deal with a good leader gone bad.
Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure. ~D. L. Moody
In all, prayer for our leaders is a powerful act of love and engagement that should find a place the Christian’s time with God.