Monday Manna

A Prayer For Leaders

By ralcorn
• August 26, 2013

(Editor’s Note: Charles Monroe, a CBMC member in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A., submitted this prayer poem for leaders, written by John O’Donohue.)

May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not.

May you be hospitable to criticism.
May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service. 

May you work on yourself
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you
May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue to be a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
And you never become a functionary.

May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime of the bleak question.

May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.

May leadership be for you
A true adventure of growth.                     — John O’Donohue


The Bible, in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, instructs, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” This poem could be a good guide for following that directive.


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Reflection/Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever considered praying for leaders – in your department at work, your company, your industry, community, state, nation, or even the world? Why or why not?


2. We often hear people expressing a variety of prayer requests, but rarely do we hear anyone suggesting that we pray for our leaders, at any level. Why do you think that is the case?


3. What part (or parts) of “A Prayer for Leaders” impress you as particularly meaningful?


4. Suppose you were to take seriously this admonition to pray for people in leadership? What difference do you think that would – or could – make, not only in their own lives but also for the people, companies and organizations they lead?


If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages:

Proverbs 15:29, 21:1; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17