Are you a prayerful leader?

Effective leaders pray for themselves, for their sessions, and for their students. Here are 6 strategies to help you.

1. Pray before you prepare.

As you put aside other activities and begin to prepare for the lesson, ask God to reveal himself to you through his Word.

2. Pray at the end of your preparation. 167244844

Finish your Bible study with a personal prayer that is tied to the lesson. Depending on the lesson, thank God for what he has done; confess a sin that was uncovered by the study; plead for renewed strength and commitment to obey God’s commands, etc. In general, respond to what God revealed in the Scripture you just studied. 

3. Pray before leading.

Plan time to pray before leading the session. You could pray while you ride in your car or as you set up chairs for your group. Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable you to explain well, and that students will participate in discussion and be engaged with the day’s Scripture. Pray for anticipated difficulties as well: a problem student or a new activity that you are apprehensive about. And don’t be a lone ranger! Ask a member or two of your congregation if they would pledge to pray for you and your teens.

4. Commit to regular prayer for your students.

Unlike the prayers mentioned above, these prayers can be prayed any time. The key is committing yourself to regular prayer. Some people make up a prayer calendar to make sure that they pray for every student. For example, if you have a small group, you could pray for Tim every Monday, Sheena every Tuesday, Jason every Wednesday, etc. If your group is large, you could pray through the group on a monthly basis. Set up your computer calendar or phone with reminders.

5. Choose a place or time.

Another way to remember to pray regularly is to identify an activity you participate in daily or weekly that doesn’t require your full attention. Some unconventional but regular prayer opportunities are while riding the commuter train, jogging, or doing the dishes.

6. Pray for each student by name.

An effective intercessor not only prays regularly but also prays specifically for individual students. That doesn’t mean, “Please be with my students as they work out conflicts in their families.” It does mean, “Help Sarah see the love behind her mother’s restrictions. Lord, give her self-control to curb her tongue. May she and her mom work out their disagreements.”

“I remember a minister, who is now with the Lord, who was thanked by his people for his wonderful sermons; but he said to them, ‘You never thanked me for my prayers, yet they were the best part of my service for you.’ When men of God are mighty in prayer, we owe much to them.” —Charles Spurgeon

Go beyond praying that the Scripture passage will impact Mark. Pray for his school situation as well, his Christian walk, his family relationships, his job difficulties, and other out-of-class situations.

Of course, to pray specifically you need to be in touch with your students. For example, if you don’t know how to pray for Kara, spend some time with her (talking after class, attending her volleyball game). You’ll discover what makes her special. And that knowledge will help you pray more specifically and fervently!

Maybe you can’t go to the kids’ basketball games or participate in the youth skiing trip. But you can keep informed about their activities. You can express interest in them and their hobbies. And you can pray for them.

Use the digital devotional to email or text the Scripture passage and questions from the Journal to your teens. Use the opportunity to ask how their day is going.

There are a lot of things that you can do for and with your students. But never forget the most important one—pray.

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One Response to Are you a prayerful leader?
  1. Pastor Smith
    February 27, 2012 | 10:40 am

    Prayer is a powerful tool that has been given to us. When we use it wisely, the benefits to ourselves and others are limitless.

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