This piece is a reprint of an article that was published in Horizons, which is a Salvation Army leadership magazine. While the leaders mentioned in this article have changed, the thoughts then are relevant today, as we face the concern of burnout of our leaders.
In a stinging mid-term election defeat for his party not long ago, U.S. President Bill Clinton said he was tired. Toronto Star columnist Linda Diebel said he looked as if “he was carrying the weight of the world upon his shoulders.” The mantle of leadership was taking its toll.
I asked myself, “Who prayed for President Clinton today?” If we were thrust into the fiery lion’s den of leadership, wouldn’t we want someone to pray for us?
The leaders in halls of government throughout the world carry immense responsibilities upon their shoulders, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than lifting them up before God’s throne, we tend to contribute to their downfall.
Often, the silent majority is all too silent in supporting their leaders. They need to know that we are team players with them as they execute their onerous mandates.
In the ’40s, U.S. President Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.” In one brief sentence Truman stated exactly and succinctly that leadership is an awesome responsibility. He realized that he was ultimately accountable for every decision. People criticized his leadership style. There was little commendation for his stalwart determination to end the Second World War.
We should pray for Christian leaders in every part of our “global village” world. It requires faith, courage, sacrifice, dedication and commitment to uphold Christian principles in a world which is drifting away from high standards of ethics and morality.
We should also pray for non-Christian leaders, who also hold the fate and welfare of millions of people in their hands. God can work in them, or in spite of them. Prime Minister Jean Chretien is worthy of our faithful prayers. What great challenges face him as he leads Canada into the 21st century.
We should also pray for Church leaders, of course. General Paul Rader has called us to pray for those in leadership within the Army. Sometimes we put them on a lofty pedestal, but they are “earthly vessels” through whom God wants to accomplish His eternal purposes. We need to be their anchor, holding fast in spite of the winds of adversity.
As believers, let our challenge be to pray without ceasing. In addressing the Ephesians (6:18), the Apostle Paul emphasized the duty of praying for those who uphold Christian principles: “And pray in the Spirit in all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all of the saints.”
May we, as members of Christ’s Church always remember our leaders as they fulfil their difficult mandates. Let us provide strong prayer support in their hour of need.