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Prayer and the dynamic leader

Nov. 17, 2017 | by Matthew Fretwell

The bitter north wind ripped through the rag-tag American Continental Army—half-starved, diseased, outnumbered, facing a superior army—George Washington sought refuge for his ill-equipped men.

On December 19, 1777, 240 years ago, nearly 12,000 collected troops faced the vicious fury of a Northern winter. With one in four soldiers without shoes—snow pressed bloodied trodden footprints revealed the severity of war. 

General George Washington was a proven tactical mobilizer—a truly dynamic leader. The Commander-in-Chief was known for his devotional battlefield prayers. Valley Forge became a pivotal moment in painting a historical picture of Washington’s dedication to God. 

The debatable picture, kneeling in the snow, hands clasped, head bowed, and decorated headdress on the ground, Washington’s devotional legacy was born. Regardless of whether the event occurred—Valley Forge did, and Washington was a devotedly praying dynamic leader. 

Let’s address three essential components of dynamic leadership and prayer. 

Humility

Dynamic leaders should be humble leaders. Arrogance is not a good quality for a leader. Great mobilizers of people are those who can encourage others—not out of fear or intimidation, but encouragement and example. 

Possessing humility assists leaders in continued development. Those who think they know everything will cease to develop. But do not confuse humility with confidence.

One aspect of prayer that I greatly admire is the ability to surrender to the God of creation. I fully admit that He knows more than I—that’s where my confidence derives. As a leader, I have a great responsibility. Seeking God in prayer opens my heart, mind and soul to the greatest dynamic and humble leader of all-time, Jesus Christ. Without Him, I am nothing. 

Help

Asking for help does not demonstrate weakness, but boldness. 

Knowing that I can always do something better is a reality—I strive for perfection. However, I know I’m fallible and in need a perfecting God. Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” God is an excellent source of overflowing help.

Dynamic leaders tend to be self-motivated, but the good ones seek help in achieving excellence. Another great tactical commander, David, declared, “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). Even “old blood and guts” Patton, the fiery WWII four-star General, once petitioned an Army chaplain to seek God’s help and guidance in providing clear weather for victory.

We shouldn’t be ashamed to confess our need for help—God can make a way for the impossible.

Sometimes all we need is a little help. God may be sending you help in the form of people. He does that. Every good dynamic leader understands they are only as good as the team around them. Humbly seek God, ask for help, and pursue His guidance. 

Heeding

Dynamic leaders should heed wise counsel. Far too may leaders think they know everything— about everything. Heeding is not merely listening, it being trainable and teachable.

The Lord imparts wisdom to David, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8). Men like Washington, and David, understood that prayer was seeking the presence of the Commander of the host of heaven. They were inclined to listen and heed His infinitely wise direction.

Dynamic leaders are people who can heed advice, from God and others. Heeding has a sense of taking notice, but also denotes adhering, following and/or obeying. If you want to become a dynamic leader, understand that there are others with more experience, and especially an omniscient God. You do not need to know everything.

Leaders who pursue excellence

The men mentioned in this article, Washington, David, Lombardi, and Patton, all represent different faces of dynamic leadership—but all were known to seek God. All went through a humbling period in their lives, and all had to heed advice—you’re no different.  

Humility, help and heeding can cultivate dynamic leadership qualities. You may not be able to achieve perfection, but you can grasp excellence. To be a dynamic leader, nurture and develop dynamic prayer.

Photo source: istock


Matthew Fretwell

Matt Fretwell is married, has three daughters, is an author, revitalization pastor, national director of operations for New Breed Network, and leadership coach. Matt holds a doctorate from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Great Commission reproducible disciple-making strategies. Matt also writes for Church Planter Magazine and interviews well-known evangelical leaders on his discipleship podcast, The Wretched & The Wrecked.



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