The Prayer Life Of an Above Average Leader

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Prayer Life of a Great LeaderI’ve never considered being called average a compliment.  I think it means you’re just as close to the bottom as on top.  I don’t believe that God meant for you to be average.  I don’t think God meant for you to live a so-so or bland, mediocre life.  As a leader, I don’t think God intends for you to be an average leader.  I believe that every human being was designed for excellence, that you’re not one in a million, you’re one in five billion and as the book In Search of Excellence states, “The average person desires to be excellent in many different ways.”  There is no one else like you in the universe.

As Pastors and Christian leaders, one of the key elements in our pursuit of being an above average leader is having an above average prayer life. I want to share some big lessons from the life of Jabez about the prayer life of an above average leader.

Jabez is a man who literally stood out in a crowd.  There isn’t much written about him in the Bible.  In 1 Chronicles 4, you find a couple of sentences about him in the middle of a bunch of genealogies.  In the middle of 600 names God singles out one man for special recognition.  He stands above average.  He’s like a redwood tree in a forest of Bonzai’s.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 it says, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.  His mother had named him Jabez saying, `I gave birth to him in pain.’  Jabez cries out to God, `O God, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory and keep me from harm so that I would be free from pain.’  And God granted his request.” 

Out of those two obscure verses, we learn that there are three secrets to his life as an above average leader. What can we learn from Jabez?

You Need a Great Ambition

Jabez didn’t want to be ordinary.  He wanted to excel and grow.  In other words, he was a person of vision and dreams.  He wanted something special and something great from his life.  Most of all, he wanted God’s blessing in his life.

A lot of people never achieve the leadership level that they could achieve in life because they just drift through life with no ambition, no master plan, no real purpose, no dream that pulls them along.  It’s what I call haphazard living.  You’ve got to have a dream if you’re going to be a great leader.  And in looking at Jabez’ prayer life we’ll find that his prayers actually came out of his dreams.  When you stop dreaming, you start dying.  If you have no goals, you have no growth.  You were designed by God for great dreams.

You Need a Growing Faith

Jabez had a deep trust and belief in God.  It is obvious from his prayer that he recognized that the source of his blessing was the Lord.  It reminds me of William Carey who said, “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.”  In these two verses, we notice a couple of things about Jabez. If you’re going to live above average, you first need a great ambition and second, you need a growing faith.

You Need a Genuine Prayer Life

Jabez knew that to live above average, it was going to take more than his own strength.  It was going to take God’s power in his life to accomplish his dream.  Notice he’s very specific about what he prays about.  God wants us to pray about our goals.  He wants us to be specific.  Nothing becomes dynamic unless it becomes specific.  The more specific I am in my prayers, the more quickly God’s going to answer.

God dares us to ask for big requests.  James 4:3 says, “You have not because you ask not.”  Jeremiah says, “Call unto Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you know not.”  Over twenty times in the New Testament we’re commanded to ask.  Jesus said, “Ask, Seek, Knock.”  That spells “ASK”.  In Ephesians 3:20, it says “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us.”  That’s one of my favorite verses because it says you can’t out-ask or out-dream God.  Stretch your imagination and let God take you further than you’ve ever gone before in your prayer life, in praying for God’s blessing on your ministry and on your life.

Have you let God give you a great ambition for your life, for your ministry?  Have you had a glimpse of what God wants to do in your life?  Maybe the most important thing you could do is take a full day off get off by yourself with your Bible and say, “God help me to see the situation as You see it.  Help me to see Your church as You want it to be.  Not as it is, but as You want it to be.”  The most fulfilling ambition is to do God’s will.  The Bible says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.”  So never be afraid of having ambition if what you’re attempting is ultimately for the glory of God.  There’s no doubt about it that ambition outside of God’s control is destructive.  But ambition under God’s control is dynamic.  I believe that there is nothing that God won’t do for the person who’s sole ambition is for God’s greater glory.  Let God give you a great ambition for your church.

Photo by Kevin Carden


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Rick Warren About Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

  • http://www.EpicGraceBook.com/ Kurt Bubna

    Thank you, Pastor Rick. You continue to amaze and inspire me to go beyond the ordinary!

  • Brenda Tough.Grimes

    Thanks Pastor Rick for a great article. I know that my husband enjoys your devotions and this article made me stop and think; what are my ambitions and dreams; hence, what are God’s ambitions and dreams for me and am I praying into them. I love my husband, but often I am listening to his dreams without really thinking about what God has for me. I want to be a Jabez kind of woman.
    May God bless you and your ministry and all that you do.

  • matovu edward

    praise be to GOD pastor thank for the word i love you so mach

  • John McClure

    Wonderful message this morning. Thank you,

  • Prabhu Nandan

    Have always been blessed reading and meditating on Pastor Rick’s teaching. Thank you.

  • MCJerry

    Indeed, this uplifting. Thanks for this piece of teaching. God bless you, Pastor.

  • Rosita Liaw

    Thank you for this teaching. It has reinforced a calling, a challenge to start a school of evangelization mainly to equip the laity to practice and live a fruitful and fulfilled Christ centered life in order to encourage and build up the body of Christ.
    I pray, Father God, please remove any hindrances and bless me with eyes of faith and a heart of genuine prayer -to not just say Yes Lord in words but to trust in your power, authority and mostly your love and ambition for me. In Jesus mighty Name I pray!

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