Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18
How selfish are my prayers? How selfish are my prayers for others? Prayer is not meant to be a means for me to just get what I want. In fact, it is meant to be a means to get what God wants for me and for others. Real intercession for another doesn’t demand anything of God as though we know what people need best. Real intercession for others is found in letting go and letting God do as He will in their lives. The temptation for leaders is to pray for God to do certain things that benefit the leader more than the person for whom we intercede. Leaders can intercede for another asking that the person be blessed or healed or whatever, simply so that leader can be free of dealing with the person’s hardship. This is not intercession but interference. God has intentions and plans for people and sometimes those plans involve difficulty and hardship. The leader is not meant to question God but to help the person find God in the midst of the hardship. This is intercession.
Prayers may not always be answered or understood. God doesn’t have to answer us in the ways we pray or desire. It is not the leader’s place to understand or know it all but to submit to the leadership of God. God loves people more than we do and we must trust His ways, His plans and His purposes are higher than ours. When we move or pray, we must do so out of obedience and submission to God’s plan and not out of our own sympathies or inclinations. Trying to fix things for people or to fix people is not intercession but interference.
God doesn’t seek our approval before He does something. As leaders and servants we must stay acutely aware of God’s Spirit working and acting around us. Being sensitive to His leading and prodding is essential for the leader. The leader must work with God in people’s lives and not quench or circumvent what God is doing. Compassionate and sympathetic leaders may want to intervene and assist when what God wants is intercession. Yes, leaders should be sensitive and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are times to open our hands and serve our fellowman and then there are times to fold our hands in sincere intercessory prayer. At the timing of God, intercession may lead to the intervention as was the case for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and His prayer from the cross to forgive those who crucified Him. Otherwise, it is essential that the leader not interfere with God’s working in other’s lives but genuinely intercede on their behalf.
What it seems to come down to is that the leader must be willing to take their hands off of every aspect of life and fold them in prayer for God’s will to be done. This takes form in accepting whatever role the leader plays on the team, in service or in another’s life. It means that God has the right to move people in or out as He sees fit because we trust His care and love of others is greater than our love or concern. Leading through intercession is a great task that requires much faith for the leader since the leader must accept God’s plan more than his own agenda. The leader is only fit for leadership when there is no interference in other’s lives to accomplish a task but a sincere desire for God to be glorified in other’s lives regardless of what it takes.
Final thought: Don’t pray for what you want; pray that what you want will be what God wants. Stay in prayer for people but stay out of the way of God in people’s lives. Let God be God.