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Supernatural Trust by Sara Nagelvoort Marlin


Christian Leadership Alliance

Supernatural Trust that Comes from Prayer is the Foundation for Steward Leadership

By Sara Nagelvoort Marlin ~

My favorite Bible verse for as long as I can remember has been these very familiar words from the psalmist: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) But, I hate to admit, I often forget these words. Instead, I lean on my own strength to navigate through the day. Even worse, it is usually on the busiest and most stressful of days when I do this, neglecting to approach the Lord when I need Him most.

When I snap out of it, I often remember the title of a convicting book I read several years ago: Too Busy Not to Pray, by Bill Hybels. In it Hybels exhorts the Christian to prioritize prayer amidst mounting stresses and responsibilities, even when being still may seem counter-intuitive.

To be a strong steward leader, as busy as we all are, it’s critical that we prioritize this time of being still with God. As capable as the steward leader may be, one must trust in the Lord, not in oneself, and prayer leads us to that trust.

Trust overall is a profound fuel for the effectiveness of a steward leader. It first starts with trusting in the Lord. A lack of trust in the Lord on one hand can make a leader headstrong and self-centered, and in other cases weak and unsure. We are powerless without Him. We know we can trust Him to lead us in ways that are for our good and that glorify Him.

Secondly, a good leader must trust in his or her team. That can be hard for those of us who are perfectionists and find it difficult to delegate as much as we need to. Trusting in God equips us to trust others, knowing that He is directing our paths. It works. I’ve seen that the more I let go, delegate, and trust my colleagues, they bring results far beyond what I would have micro-managed them to produce.

About a year ago, I made a bold suggestion to my team. What if we spent the first hour of each day in prayer together? Praying for the ministry, praying for each other and our families, praying for the day’s meetings. As a marketing team, we regularly pray for favor by the media, pray for good relations with the departments of corrections whom we serve, pray for our donors and volunteers. We pray for anything and everything.

This may seem an obvious habit for a Christian organization to adopt, but is it common? Sad to say, but I had let our task list overwhelm our days. Prayer was often cut short. Making this change was a leap of faith. As a growing ministry that is tackling the challenge of helping the incarcerated and their families, we don’t have any “down time” during the workday. But we trusted the Lord, giving him the first hour of our day – a sort of “first fruits” of our schedule.

The results have been amazing. God has blessed us mightily, answering countless prayers in unexpected ways, uniting us around His plans, building trust in relationships, and bringing us supernatural results to His glory.

Start your day with prayer and trusting the Lord. Try it with your teams. The trust between you and those you lead will soar and you will not be disappointed. Trust me!

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Sara Nagelvoort Marlin is the senior vice president of marketing and communications for Prison Fellowship, the nation’s largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families.

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