A Good Leader Prays

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1Samuel 7-9; Luke 9:18-36

 

Then Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, “If you are turning to the Lord with all your heart, then get rid of all the foreign gods and the Astartes you have. Set your heart on the Lord! Worship him only! Then he will deliver you from the Philistines’ power.” So the Israelites got rid of the Baals and the Astartes and worshiped the Lord only.

Next Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah. I will pray to the Lord for you.”

So they assembled at Mizpah, and they drew water and poured it out in the Lord’s presence. They fasted that same day and confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Samuel served as judge of the Israelites at Mizpah.

When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had assembled at Mizpah, the Philistine rulers went up to attack Israel. When the Israelites learned of this, they were afraid of the Philistines. The Israelites said to Samuel, “Please don’t stop praying to the Lord our God for us, so God will save us from the Philistines’ power!” So Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as an entirely burned offering to the Lord. Samuel cried out in prayer to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him.

10 While Samuel was offering the entirely burned offering, the Philistines advanced to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered against the Philistines with a great blast on that very day, throwing the Philistines into such a panic that they were defeated by Israel. 11 The Israelite soldiers came out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines. They struck them down until they reached a place just below Beth-car. 12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer, explaining, “The Lord helped us to this very point.”

13 So the Philistines were defeated, and they stopped coming into Israelite territory. The Lord’s hand was against the Philistines throughout Samuel’s life. (1 Samuel 7:3-13, Common English Bible).

We have talked before, a couple of times about Israel’s cycles through living in God’s favor to God’s punishment and back again. Today’s lesson finds Israel at the bottom of that cycle and ready to return back to God.

Samuel asks the Israelites to gather together and he would pray for them. Samuel understood something many leaders do not. Samuel understood the importance of invoking God’s blessings on the actions one is about to take. He also understood that he didn’t just need to pray about his own leadership, he knew he needed to pray for all his people.

To lead is a great responsibility. It is a responsibility that cannot be effectively done alone. No one knows everything and all of us are smarter than one of us. A good leader knows that. A good leader knows that without good advice they will probably fail. A good leader should also know that without Divine guidance, a leader is destined to fail before even getting started.

A good leader also knows to ask those who follow to pray as well. Franklin D. Rooselvet once said, “I ask that our people devote themselves to a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips.”

As hopefully our leaders pray for us, may it be so. May we pray for them, pray for one another and may God lead us toward the Divine.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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