What I Would Love to Say to All the Leaders

Everywhere I look chaos reigns. 

Our world has spiraled into confusion, contempt, and confrontation when our better selves would choose compassion, courage, and community

Desperate for change, we seek leadership — on every level. 

But what kind of leaders do we need today for home, church, workplace, school, town, government, and country?

And what could we possibly say to such people of influence? 

For myself, obedience begins by praying…. “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” 1 Timothy 2.1-3  MSG

Irish writer John O’Donohue published words a dozen years ago that pretty much contain all I pray for myself and other leaders. Today I share them with you:

For a Leader
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 those who work for you know
You see and respect them.
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 stairwell to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue as 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 edge 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 “To Bless the Space Between Us” (2008)

I may respect a certain leader or disdain that person; but regardless of feelings, I embrace the “healing of wholesome words” when I speak such words over them.

under the mercy, Lucinda

©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouragement at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com

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  1. Jennifer J Rice on June 24, 2020 at 11:12 am


  2. barbara on June 24, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    he was beautiful and wise, John O’D was. and you are too for sending along. bless you and thank you. i join you in this prayer…..

  3. Maggie Rowe on June 24, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    An excellent word for today, Cindy. I love that prayer. Grateful for the book and the giver, too!

  4. Dee Dee Parker on June 24, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Beautiful prayer. Thank you,Cindy.

  5. Nancy Smith on June 24, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Thank you – much needed words!

  6. Tracey plath on June 26, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Your words in conjunction with is prayer are so timely, thanks for encouraging us to be servant leaders! 💜

  7. Carlene on July 1, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Love this! Thanks Lucinda

  8. Elizabeth Brandes on July 5, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you Cindy for your wisdom and grace. We need this message hugely right now.

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