When we pray strategically for our friends who are seeking, leaders to come, and leaders to honor, something happens in our own hearts. We become bolder in our faith, we remember to encourage those behind us, and we honor those before us. And these changes create a spirit of humility and faith within our hearts, a welcome perspective shift for the need-overwhelmed leader.
For the other requests that come my way, I practice the discipline of presence and honesty. If the moment allows, I ask if I can pray for the person right away. Often, people easily ask for prayer but the practice of receiving prayer is a stretch out of their spiritual comfort zone. Take the opportunity to pray immediately for someone if you can. If I can't pray then, I tell them, "I will pray for your (trouble, daughter, family member) as the Lord leads." God often brings one of those people to mind that week, but if he doesn't, I trust that he's received my offering of presence with them and is upholding them with his strong right hand.
By now, you probably have several names swirling in your mind. As you think about the unbeliever, the future leader, and the leader above you, I hope you target five—and only five—names in your mind. Don't think about who you "should" pray for, but instead, quiet your spirit and see who God brings into your mind—I found myself surprised when I did this exercise!
Now commit to pray for your five for a specific period of time, perhaps a week or a month. Write yourself reminders. Print their names in your journal and on your heart. Become a proactive prayer partner for hearts God cares deeply about: the lost, the seeking, the young, the servant leader—and expect great things when you partner with God's power for these five lives.