by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
If we are going to lead the church in spiritual communal discernment, we as leaders need to be encountering God in transformative ways. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
This discovery of God’s will begins with leaders experiencing the transforming work of the Spirit. And for that we need to shut off the noise in our lives and get to a place of quiet in the presence of God. For the past two years I have carried two prayers of indifference in my Bible available for those times when I need to lay aside my ego and the need to be right, and more clearly hear the whisper that comes from God. Ruth Haley Barton, our instructor at Constituency Leaders Council last week, recommended three types of prayers for moving into that space of being able to hear the voice of God. I commend these prayers to you.
Prayer of Quiet Trust
Lord, I come to you, trusting that I don’t need to fight, flee, or freeze. You have answers that I need. The answers are beyond my ability to comprehend so I place my trust in you to guide me to a place of clarity and resolve (or Psalm 131:1-2).*
Prayer of Indifference
Lord, I acknowledge that I come to this table with my own agenda, my own desires, my ego and personal likes and dislikes. In this moment, I lay down my will to seek nothing more, nothing less, nothing else than your will to be revealed among your people. Help me to do this very hard thing. Let me know in the moment when I am pushing my own agenda. May I die to self so that you might rise and be seen through me.*
Prayer for Wisdom
All wise and intelligent God, I seek your wisdom. Even when your wisdom seems foolish to me, I will prefer it over my own. Give me insight beyond my experience and training. Give me wisdom that gets to the heart and soul of the work before me.*
Can you sense the spacious quiet?
Ruth Haley Barton’s books in the Western District Conference Resource Library include:
- Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence
- Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups
- Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
- Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry
*These prayers are adapted from prayers prepared by Donna Mast for Constituency Leaders Council, March 26-28, 2015. For group settings these prayers are best prayed in the plural.