Nov21MonNovember 21, 2016by Rob Globke
Read the first articles in this series...
Leaders Are Compassionate
- Nehemiah 1:4b -
“...I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
Most hockey players I have come across are doers. They are action oriented and don’t always like sitting still. When you think about it, this makes sense. The game is very fast paced. Always moving. Line changes, transition, passing, skating, legs and arms always in motion. This is why the game is so fun to watch and even more fun to play (my opinion of course!). Even as I write this, I notice my leg bouncing up and down as I think. Hockey players like action. They like to take initiative. No offense to the left wing lock or other trap systems, but it’s much more enjoyable to play when you take the initiative. I’m not sure there’s many fans out there who enjoy watching teams that stand still. People like seeing riveting activity. This is what captures people.
I don’t believe this desire for initiative and action stops when the skates come off. As they say, “You can take the cat out of the alley, but you can’t take the alley out of the cat.” If you think hockey people somehow turn into chess players when they walk out of the rink, you should spend some time on a bus trip with no movie or phones allowed. Thirty minutes in guys are starting to lose their minds. Hockey players just need something to do. And maybe, for many people who don’t play hockey, they can relate to this deep seated need to be on the move.
Perhaps this is why praying can be so difficult. I know I have wrestled with prayer at various points in my young life. Believe me, I’m saint in this area. I still need a lot of work! I might be totally missing the mark, but I assume there are many out there who would join me in admitting prayer can be hard. And I think it’s hard for us “doers” because many times prayer feels like inaction. Praying about something makes it seem like nothing is getting done; just all talking and no action. When things go wrong or a problem arises in life, we want to do what we do on the ice. Read and react. Our first instinct is to ask ourselves, “What can I do?”
Nehemiah reminds us of a different path. He reminds us leaders of faith must lead in different ways than what we might be used to. It is interesting to note that when Nehemiah heard of the plight in the homeland, his first instinct was not to jump on a horse and take action. His first step was to stop. It was to pause and pray. His first question he asked was, “How can I pray?” Oh, what a reminder. A great challenge to us hockey players who want to be leaders.
There are three things this action of “inaction” showed which will be good for us to think about….
When Nehemiah’s first step was to stop and pray it demonstrated tremendous humility. In essence, Nehemiah was saying, “I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have all the tools in my toolbox to solve this situation. I’m not really as great and powerful as I would like to think I am. BUT, I do know someone who is. Let me ask him.” Stopping to pray like Nehemiah did is incredibly humble. It was placing a proper estimate of his own importance and abilities, and placing his faith in something better. Too often we are so quick to assume we are just what the problem needs. In some cases, sure. But, in many others, we must realize there is a much greater problem solver in this life. Nehemiah recognized this and that made him a great leader. He didn’t trust in himself. He trusted in God almighty for what he was going to do. That’s a great lesson for us leaders.
We live in an instant society. You want to know something...Google it. You want something to eat...why wait for it to be cooked? Just get some fast food. You want to buy that fancy new gadget...just get it now and you can pay for it later. The world teaches life is lived in the fast lane. You have to be a doer to get what you want. Things have to be done now. To stop and pray reminds us we are to be patient. To fight against this idea that doing a lot of things quickly makes you more valuable in this life. I wonder if Nehemiah would’ve had any funny looks and questions from those around him when he took the time to fast and pray. I’m sure if this is our action as leaders we would get some push back nowadays. People would wonder if we were really cut out to lead in today’s world. We would say, “I am taking action.” They would say, “No, you are just talking to someone who isn’t even visible. You aren’t really doing anything.” Whether the world admits it or not, it needs people willing to lead by having the patience to pray. Nehemiah shows us how to be this kind of patient leader.Trust
This is similar to humility above but a little different. When Nehemiah stopped to pray it showed he trusted the Lord. Many of us, myself included, find it easy to say, “Of course I trust in God.” Yet, when trouble comes or a problem arises, what do our actions say about who we trust? If we are honest, many times our actions prove we don’t really trust God as much as we think we do. Our actions reveal the truth that we spend more time chasing, running, and scrambling to do things under our own power. We say we trust God, but what we do first proves we trust ourselves. Nehemiah leads in a different way. He stops to pray. He stops to say, “I trust you more than anything, God. Please give me wisdom and guide me into what I need to do.” That is pretty cool.
In closing, I do realize that it could be said that praying is action. This I know, but work with me here!! :-) It’s usually not what most people consider action, and that’s the point I was trying to make. Hopefully, it made some sense.
- Have you been quick to act and slow to pray?
- In what ways can you remind yourself to be quick to pray and slower to act?
- What are some other reasons prayer might be a better first step over others?
- Who / what are you praying for?