4 Traits of Influential Christians, Part One

A few years ago, I wrote a book about influential Christians. Cleverly, I entitled it Influential Christians. Anyway, I was thinking about some of the principles we can learn from the men and women I wrote about, and four traits came to mind: prayer, planning, preparation, and perseverance.

True confession: My list didn’t all start with “p’s” at first. “Perseverance” was something else–I don’t remember what. And, as long as I’m confessing, I am not necessarily a fan of having every word in a multi-point presentation start with the same letter. But I did it this time.

Moving on…

I’ve decided to write 4 blogs about all of this, focusing on one trait each time.

Here are three examples from my book of the role prayer played in the lives of some of these influential Christians.

When Billy Graham, the most famous and influential preacher of 20th century America, was a college kid, he really wanted an opportunity to preach. One day he was mowing a lawn, and he became so overcome with this desire that he actually stopped his work, went over, and knelt down in the bushes to pray about it. Soon, a man walked up to him and said, “Billy, what are you doing in the bushes? I’ve been trying to find you. I need you to preach next Sunday.”

In 1949, Graham was about to begin a preaching campaign in Los Angeles that would make him famous. But he began to have doubts. Driven to distraction and unable to sleep, peace of mind only came after he devoted himself to prayer.

Bill Hybels is the senior pastor of a mega church outside of Chicago today. In the early days of his ministry, his church was already growing fast. Sadly, a scandal arose involving one of his pastors. The staff tried to be respectful and discrete as they removed the man from ministry, but some church members saw this as a case of a popular pastor being driven away by jealous co-workers. The situation threatened to split the church. What did Hybels do? He got face down on his living room rug and asked God for forgiveness for Hybels’ failings as a leader and for wisdom in how to lead the church.

Influential Christians are committed to prayer.

Paul says in I Thessalonians that Christians should always be praying. There are several accounts of Jesus praying. Acts tells of Peter praying when God called him to go beyond the Jewish community to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

What’s my takeaway? Maybe Probably Definitely we should pray. A lot.

(Influential Christians is available at Amazon for $24.95 or for $10.00 by contacting the author directly [while supplies last])