Day 15 — Intentionally Influential
#DETOX is designed to prioritize God in the new year as we allow him to cleanse and renew our souls (Psalm 51:10). Together, we are committing to 21 days of prayer and fasting so that we might come into greater alignment with God’s will, purposes and plans believing and trusting in His power alone to create lasting impact and change in our lives, our church and our world.
Over the course of our #DETOX journey, we will have a daily prayer focus that will help guide and unify us as a community in prayer as we seek God's heart together on a variety of topics. You can find an overview of our daily prayer focus topics here. The following post is meant to serve as a reminder and inspiration on what and how you might pray on today's prayer focus, but should not limit how God leads you in praying. Be sure to follow along daily at our #DETOX Daily Blog here.
Prayer Focus: Intentionally Influential
When you think “influence”, who is your immediate frame of reference?
If your answer lies somewhere on the spectrum of CEOs, celebrities or social media influencers, I’m with you. And it’s easy to mythologize the notion of an “influencer”. We usually think of them as people who are insanely smart, talented, powerful, decisive, or [insert awesome innate quality here].
On Martin Luther King Jr Day, it is perhaps fitting to ponder the idea of influence through the lenses of Rev. Dr. King’s life. From his leadership on the Montgomery bus boycott, to his letter from Birmingham jail, to his “I Have a Dream” speech – his words and actions have continued to inspire and influence those struggling for social progress today.
I am sure Rev. Dr. King checks off most, if not all, of the traits we associate with an “influencer”. However, it is important to remember that Rev. Dr. King did not achieve civil rights victories by himself. Tangible, lasting impact – in other words, his influence – really only happened when he was able to galvanize large groups of people and mobilize them towards a common goal.
Rev. Dr. King’s 1963 march on Washington is commemorated not just for his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech, but also for the incredible fact that he was able to activate 200,000 people to come together and demand equality. That is the size of four football fields, and the equivalent of everyone in Salt Lake City, or Little Rock, or Huntington Beach. He was able to influence every single one of those who showed up that day by convincing them of THEIR power and THEIR ability to bring change.
Each one of them bought into his vision, made his vision THEIR vision, and believed THEY could bring this vision to life.
This brings me to a powerful truth. “Influence” is not about ourselves; how strong or smart we are. It is not an innate, superior quality that makes someone more authoritative than the other. Rather, “influence” starts with an outward focus and ends with an invite. When we FOCUS our energies on helping others realize their own power and their own ability to drive impact, and then INVITE them to join us in our struggle for change – magic happens.
From a faith perspective, Jesus’ legacy of influence reflects a similar trajectory. He started his ministry by FOCUSING on his 12 disciples. He poured into their lives, and helped them understand his vision of heaven and the message of salvation.
Jesus also convinced them of their power to influence – even INVITING them to extend and exceed his own human ministry – telling them, “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even GREATER things than these” (John 14:12).
Imagine the surge of strength and power if Jesus were to look you in your eyes today and say, “You’ve got this. You can do this. Take action.”
The truth is, Jesus already has. So, what’s stopping us from influencing the world today?
Join me in this prayer:
Dear Jesus, in you we are able. Thank you for affirming us as co-laborers in your service (1 Corinthians 3:9). Help us live a life of influence; a life that helps those around us catch a glimpse of you through our words, actions and behavior. Open our eyes to how we can focus on empowering our brothers and sisters, and authentically invite them towards greater love, justice and mercy. Amen.
— April S.