Several weeks ago we began discussing what it takes to be a leader. The first quality that we mentioned is not often recognized by the secular world, but highly valued in the words and actions of Jesus Christ. I am referring to humility, an attitude that is hard to attain and even harder to keep. I must admit that humility is certainly not a characteristic that I have mastered. My mother used to always say, “the Burkholders don’t have a problem with pride, because Brian has it all.” I trust, though, that as I contunue to mature in my faith, that my pride decreases and and that the Lord produces humility in my life.
The second essential leadership characteristic that sets a leader above the rest is intercessory prayer. Once again, that certainly is not an attribute that is secularly recognized, but then again, we are not talking about secular leaders. A spiritual leader realizes that the best way that he can teach, mentor and encourage those under his leadership is to cry out to God on their behalf.
No doubt, Moses is one of the greatest leaders in human history. His ability to lead a nation of people some one million strong through the desert and to the brink of the Promised Land is nothing less than remarkable. Among his many admirable leadership qualities was his consistent intercession to God on behalf of his rebellious people.
The most well-known example is found in Exodus 32. Even though, the Israelites, under Aaron’s failed leadership had set up a golden calf and worshipped it in place of God, Moses still pleaded with God to spare them. We find that he petitions God to do three things…
1. He pleads with God to remember – Exodus 32:11-13
2. He pleads with God to relent – Exodus 32:12, 14
The idea is not that God changed His mind, but rather that He embarked upon a different course of action. God’s character does not change, but He does respond to the prayers and confessions of His people.
3. He pleads with God to restrain – Exodus 32:31-33
“Lord, if the Israelites are going to be destroyed, then destroy me with them. I do not desire to see the name and family of Moses built upon the ruins of
Wow! What a powerful intercessory statement! What kind of churches would we have today if pastors had a heart of intercession like Moses? How many lives would be changes in our Christian School classrooms if teachers pleaded to God for their students? How many disciples would be produced if we prayed for every new convert with such conviction?
Often, I have heard it said that leaders are readers. Although, I certainly encourage reading books that will help and enhance our ministries, I am convinced that today’s leaders must be intercessors. Let’s ask God to give us a burden to spend time on our knees interceeding to God for those underneath our leadership!