Prayer, Plain and Simple

“Not by might. Not by power. But my Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6)

Careful planning and hard work are vital, but they have limits.

Zerubbabel had an impossible assignment: to rebuild Jerusalem with a rag-tag group of ex-slaves. When Cyrus the King of Persia conquered Babylon he released the Jews, sent them home to Judea, and outfitted them with resources to rebuild their ruined city. Zerubbabel was their appointed leader. But provision did not guarantee success. Huge obstacles remained because the Jews had no experience in building, or in governing their own affairs, and no military prowess to resist enemies. Thus, God’s encouragement: “Success won’t happen for you by might and power. Yes, you’ll have to work responsibly fitting fallen stones and broken water lines, but your labor won’t be enough. You will need strength and wisdom from the Spirit of God!”

Three years ago we moved into a home on a beautiful piece of land and since then I’ve had the opportunity to garden to tend a beautiful garden plot. Growing things is delightful and humbling because while I work very, very hard at it, I really do very little that matters. I must plant seeds, pull weeds, balance the pH in the soil, fertilize, water and keep out the aphids and rabbits, but the growth happens entirely without me. I tend, but God and only God can grow a strawberry.

Growing as a leader takes “tending” wisdom and discipline. I’m responsible for that. But having done my all, my all consists of merely eliminating hindrances. In other words I can stop growth but I can’t build it. The fruit never comes from might or power, but only by God’s spirit! Just like Zerubbabel my vision is higher than your competencies. My might, my power, my planning, my skills are only my starting point, a mere elimination of hindrances. Only the anointing of the Spirit brings true leadership! Again, the words of Jesus: “Apart from me you can do nothing!”


Find something in writing that expresses of your leadership vision, purpose, and values. Set that document in front of you. First, thank God for the insight to put into words the heart of your heart and his. Then, place your hands on this document and quote: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” Finally, thank Him…


“God, once again, I am humbled by the trust you have invested in me. You commission me with a quest I can only accomplish with your empowerment. I must do my part, and I commit to that. I tend, but I admit I can not build my leadership. I need this humble posture to keep my sanity. And then I can say, by your Spirit, we can do all things together!”


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