It happened again and again: the impasse, talking in circles, limited information. In my early years, I thought all I needed was the best available information and some clear logic to make the best decision. Every good leader wants logic and information for important decisions.
But as I watched leaders who were consistently effective, I began to notice something else. Leading well eventually required more than the available information. The best leaders could sense when that point had been reached.
Instead of expecting to always have the final answer themselves, or otherwise forcing the issue to closure, they almost always paused—a moment behind closed eyes, a call for prayer, a break in the meeting, a bit of humor, seeking words from someone who had been silent. The list of methods was endless.
These leaders did not seem burdened or concerned when they exhausted knowledge and reason. The ragged edge that scared others seemed actually to assure them and guide them to wisdom. The best leaders knew after pausing who the wise person was for that moment—themselves or someone else. Such wisdom is a gift of the Spirit, and it is not lavished on leaders to cover their incompetence or indolence.
This wisdom is the gracious contribution of God to those who truly lead in order to serve. It is an answer to sincere prayer.
The following are prayers for some of those moments.
"Do not be afraid! For the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chron. 20:15).
It is not my organization, it is yours, so I depend on your Spirit to show me what to do. These are not my people. I chose them and organized their efforts, but they do not belong to me. You entrusted them to my leadership, and they agreed to follow me. They deserve more and sometimes more of me than I can give them. What they really need is enormous. If I take their needs and hopes and fears on myself personally, I will be crushed instantly. They are yours.
So much depends on me, yet all I have for this task is whatever health and energy you give me—my eyes, ears, back, heart, lungs, knees, hands, feet, voice. I eat carefully, rest, exercise, and think positive thoughts, and still this wretched lump of clay fails me. You have creator's rights on my body. You formed every miraculous part. What you take away is your business. I will do what I can with whatever physical capability you give me. It's yours.
Yours is the kingdom, but we never seem to have enough resources! We are always lacking something, our dreams always mocking our reality, our vision always dancing around our poverty. You own everything, so what we need must seem small to you. Show me where to look for it, how to know it when I see it, how to get it, how to use it best, and especially how to be content with it. It is all yours, God. It's not mine.
to be your words for me.
"May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).
It seems like nothing happens silently among us, God; everything requires words. There are so many words for every event, every dream, every meeting, every relationship, and especially every change. In fact, my leading seems to be mostly words: the words I hear or read and the words I speak or write.
I want the organization to change in order to change the world, but mostly what changes is our words. To do things differently, we need different ideas, and the ideas need the right words. What power the right words have, God! They bring our inner reality to life and make our external reality comprehensible.