This month we have been discussing how abiding in Christ is the most important of all Christian coaching competencies. What we uncovered in our original research, documented in Christian Coaching Excellence, is that it’s the one competency that separates good Christian coaches from great Christian coaches. As we abide in Christ, we help our clients abide in Him, partnering with the Holy Spirit for greater significance in our coaching relationships, life, and ministry effectiveness.
This week I will unpack the third of five behavioral expressions that comprise Abiding in Christ:
- Intercessory prayer: Praying passionately for the person or team being coached.
Many leaders excel in the technical skills of coaching, but not all coaches excel in prayer and, specifically, intercessory prayer. If we rely primarily on our technique and expertise instead of asking the Lord for His intervention, we will not ultimately be effective coaches. We need God’s involvement. As coaches, abiding in Christ means seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit at each stage of the coaching process, recognizing our dependence on him as we discern the needs of those we are coaching.
Coaching is not only a time commitment and a professional commitment—it’s also a spiritual commitment made to those who are being coached. Coaches need to be intentional and explicit about praying for those they are coaching. Some keep a list of people they are coaching in a place where they will see it regularly. Others send out emails soliciting specific prayer requests from clients. Some pray as a regular part of opening or closing a session. The best methods will differ for different people, but the best coaches find ways to pray for those they coach. That connection often manifests itself through prayerful contact: writing notes of encouragement, offering networking opportunities, providing open doors to places of ministry, etc.
Here are three exercises for growing in the area of intercessory prayer:
1. Quote for meditation
“If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer. Intercession is a way of loving others….As priests, appointed and anointed by God, we have the honor of going before the Most High on behalf of others. This is not optional; it is a sacred obligation—and a precious privilege—of all who take up the yoke of Christ.” (Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 191)
2. Pray Scripture
When you are not sure what you should be praying for people, you can use Scripture passages as your prayer. Some good Scripture prayers include:
o Colossians 1:9–13
o Philippians 1:9–11
o Ephesians 1:15–20 and 3:16–19
3. Practice exercise
Take a 30-day prayer challenge. If you are not currently praying for your clients during your coaching appointments, ask them how you can pray. Then pray with them during all of your appointments for the next 30 days. Afterward, assess the difference this practice makes in you and your clients.
Growing in the area of intercessory prayer is both a process and a practice; the more you intercede for your clients, the more attuned you will become to their needs. And the more attuned you become to the needs of your client, the better you can support your clients.
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