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How to differentiate yourself as a servant-leader

| by Mark Deterding

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name —the name you gave me —so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11).

You won’t find it in most business classes or leadership books. Or hear about it around most boardrooms or breakrooms.

But it’s the one thing that can set you apart, as a leader:


Jesus clearly illustrated the power of prayer for us. Even though he was vested with God’s power, Jesus consistently called upon God for strength—both for himself and for those he was serving.

Regardless of your position or platform in this world, your prayer makes a difference. It impacts the people you are praying for, and it impacts you.

Nothing gives me more strength than someone telling me they are praying for me. It is the ultimate expression of sincere support. And there is no greater privilege than praying for others— doing my part to put their concerns and hurts squarely on God’s radar.

Getting into a routine of prayer takes intention and effort. Here are four steps to making prayer a habit in your life:

Step 1: Schedule daily times when you will engage in prayer.

I pray for my family, my clients, people with health issues and world issues every day during my daily exercise routine. I stretch every day, so I make it a practice to pray at the same time. 

Because both activities require me to tune in to the present moment and connect with my body and mind, they actually enhance one another. Consider, what aspect of your daily routine can be bolstered by talking to God?

Step 2: Start a list of people you want to pray for.

You will become more intentional about prayer if you document whom you want to hold up to God. Be sure to include notes of thanksgiving on your list as prayers are answered in people’s lives. There is nothing I enjoy more than praying for clients I’m serving. Ask yourself, whose struggles are you currently praying for?

Step 3: Let people know you are praying for them.

Develop a practice of follow-up. Drop people a short note of encouragement, and tell them you have them in your prayers. Doing this will keep the people you are praying for at the forefront of our mind. And, it will give them a shot of energy and optimism, knowing how much you care. Take a minute and reflect, when is the last time you told someone that you were praying for them?

Step 4: Don’t just pray for the obvious.

I think most of us pray for our families and friends. But there are so many more people who can benefit from your focused uplifting. Expand the list of people you are praying for. Consider the following:

  • people that work for you or are within your sphere of influence
  • your leader and the leaders above them
  • customers
  • vendors
  • competitors
  • your community
  • schools and teachers
  • elected officials
  • our country

Praying will distinguish you as a servant leader. It will help you to maintain your focus on the greater good of others, while also making a true difference in the world.

Photo source: istock 

Mark Deterding

Mark Deterding is the founder and principal of Triune Leadership Services, LLC. In 2011 he formed Triune Leadership Services to follow his passion of working with leaders to help them develop core servant leadership capabilities that allow them to lead at a higher level and enable them to achieve their God-given potential. He is married to his wife Kim, and they have two sons, two lovely daughter-in-laws, and three wonderful grandchildren.

This article was first published on Used with permission. 

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