How A Leader Prays

How A Leader Prays May 31, 2016

How A Leader Prays

How A Leader Prays is a simple thought reflection from Nehemiah 1:1-11:

May 31, 2016 Year C

Leaders are led by God. In order to be led by God, a leader must learn to pray. Prayer is an essential private discipline of a leader. Leaders learn to lead as they trust God in prayer. In Nehemiah 1:1-11, we have an example of a leader who prays.

THE CIRCUMSTANCE (Nehemiah 1:1-3)

The strength of a people was in strength of their walls. In this case, the walls in Jerusalem were in disarray. The circumstance in this case was a wall that was broken, and gates that have been burned down.

Leaders lead people through circumstances, but the burden of a leader is for the people. The burden in the heart of Nehemiah was for his people. Leaders have a burden for their people.

Nehemiah was saddened by this state of affairs. He was upset not just that the glory of Jerusalem was destroyed, but that the people were unprotected. Just as the wall needed to be restored, the people of God needed restoration. This was the burden that was on Nehemiah’s heart.

THE CRY (Nehemiah 1:4)

The circumstance led to the cry. Nehemiah mourned for a number of days. People mourn on the inside but they grieve on the outside. Nehemiah was really burdened and it deeply affected him. It drew Nehemiah to pray and fast.

The cry was expressed in three different ways:


  1. Emotionally, Nehemiah mourned. He had a burden for the state of God’s people.
  2. Physically, Nehemiah chose to fast. He denied himself physical nourishment in order to focus on God and the circumstance of which he was burdened.
  3. Verbally, Nehemiah spoke to God about the circumstance.

THE CONVERSATION (Nehemiah 1:5-11)

Nehemiah speaks to God in prayer. There are many formulas which one can use to help guide a prayer. In this case, we can see that Nehemiah looking for God to display His ACTS.

ACTS is a simple acronym for the parts of prayer to use when speaking to God.

A – Adoration (Nehemiah 1:5-6)

Nehemiah begins by ascribing glory to God. Nehemiah praised God and shows adoration. Telling God that you love him is a great first step in prayer. Just like you would compliment a person before you ask for something, God appreciates the praise.

C – Confession (Nehemiah 1:6-7)

Nehemiah then describes the sins that the people of God have committed. Notice that a leader prays for other people, not just his own sins. Nehemiah speaks of “we” not just “me.”

T – Thanksgiving (Nehemiah 1:8-10)

Nehemiah takes the time to remind God of His faithfulness. How is a reminder a form of thanksgiving? It is a form of thanksgiving because you are remembering the promise which God gave and said He would fulfill. You are thanking God in advance for what He said He would do. You are holding God to His promises. You are saying:

“Thank you God for the promises You said You would keep.”

Can you do that in prayer? Yes, a Christian can. Only a Christian can do that. Only a child can remind the father of His promises which the child expected him to keep.

S – Supplication (Nehemiah 1:11)

After Nehemiah has spent time in adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, he ends with supplication.

Supplication is the act of asking or begging for something earnestly and humbly. The idea here is that you ask God to supply. This is the “Big Ask.” Nehemiah asks for success when he is before the king. He knows that he will need to get permission. Nehemiah also asks for compassion. The compassion of God helps soothe the anxiety when we are nervous for such a great task.

Prayer is a necessity in any leadership position, but especially in the church. May God guide me as I lead His flock.

Prayer: Please Lord, let Your ear be attentive to my prayers. Give me success today, and have compassion on me when I am anxious. (Nehemiah 1:11)

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