This past Sunday, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach our Senior Adults Sunday School Class at church. The lesson plan was primarily devoted to the Lord's Prayer as a pattern for a Christian's prayer life.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
So He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one."
— Luke 11:1-4 (NKJV)
As I studied the lesson, I realized the lines of this "model prayer" had many insights for us, not only as Christians, but as leaders.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. We must all recognize that we work for someone else. Even those who are self employed ultimately work for their clients. This knowledge has a certain level of self accountability that is required for sustained success.
Your kingdom come. Your will be be done. On earth as it is in heaven. God's will is carried out perfectly in heaven. However, that is not always the case on earth. With sin, man's free will and other factors all at play, God's will meets up with opposition more times than not. As leaders, we must learn that opposition is "part of the process." Even the best conceived plans face an uphill battle.
Give us day by day our daily bread. We need help in this daily life. Jesus was teaching His disciples that we need to ask for God to help us each day. The same is true for leaders. Without our team, our mentors, or colleagues, we are nothing. We cannot accomplish everything we are called to do do without help. It is important to not only appreciate the contributions of others, but to be honest enough to ask for help when we need it.
And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Forgiveness is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. Had it not been for the forgiveness of sins via the cross, there would be no Christian faith. Likewise, we should recognize that we will be wronged in this life. As leaders, we need to be willing to forgive others. In addition, we need to be humble enough to recognize when we are the ones in the wrong, and ask for forgiveness. Acting in this was it a sign of strength, not weakness.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. Temptations come in many forms. For the leader, it may come in the form of distraction, self importance or any host of sources. The key to ultimate success is to recognize the temptation and take the necessary steps to avoid of overcome it. The leader may even need to enlist the help of an confidant or accountability partner to help him in this area.
The next time you read or recite the Lord's Prayer, let it be a reminder to you of what true leadership is all about.
David Specht Jr. is Vice President of Specht Newspapers, Inc. and Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. View his blog at www.DavidASpecht.com.