This is the famous question Jesus asked Peter, James, and John, after they fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Could you not tarry one hour?” Jesus could rightfully ask this of us, His twenty-first century disciples. As busy leaders, we often push aside prayer when we’re pressed for time. But just like the disciples, we stand to lose an intimate connection with Jesus and an enlightened perspective.

Recently, I was tempted to cancel our monthly intercessors meeting. I’d done it before when attendance was low, and this time it only suited three of us. Plus it was a jam-packed week. Surely we could all use the extra time!

But God reminded me of the supreme value of being with Him and the superior height of His thoughts, and I held the meeting. And God held our gaze. And fueled our prayers. And gave His perspective. We ended up receiving direction in an area that had been blocked for months. Most of all, our hearts were lifted by spending time with the Lord. 

7 Keys for Tarrying With God in Prayer

1. Value it. You won’t do much that you don’t value, so check your heart. What weight do you give to praying with ministry comrades? Your calendar will tell the story. If your corporate prayer time is scant, ask God to restore your passion for discussing ministry issues with Him.  

2. Schedule it. Impromptu, urgent prayer meetings are great, but they shouldn’t replace regular times of seeking God. Plan monthly meetings to pray with your key staffers about core priorities and initiatives.  

3. Commit to it. Even if your schedule is nuts and your attendance is lean, have the prayer meeting. Jesus says, where two or three are gathered, He is in your midst. God will be glorified, and you won’t be disappointed.

4. Enter in. The first priority of prayer is to connect with God. Start with worship and maybe a few Scriptures. Express your love for God, your appreciation of His faithfulness, and Your reliance on His sovereign leading.

5. Be Spirit-Led. You’ll likely have a list of critical issues to bring before the Lord. But let Him lead the time. Instead of praying for each item, you may sense He wants you to pray for just one or two. He knows what’s pertinent and where He’s about to move.

6. Listen. As you pray with your team, listen for themes, listen for momentum, listen for direction. Jot down any verses and impressions you receive.

7. Obey. Obedience might mean keeping track of what you’ve sensed, since God may have more to say on the matter. Or obedience might mean taking a step God confirmed in prayer.

The Greek word for tarry is grégoréo, and it means to be vigilant, responsible. A leader who is vigilant and responsible in prayer is vigilant and responsible in life.

“A leader who is vigilant and responsible in prayer is vigilant and responsible in life.”

- Lisa Hosler

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