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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

LESSON 10 - Prioritize Prayer Over Problems

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Jeff Lilley is our guest blogger this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 3: Nominees for the Board Member Hall of Fame.”

LESSON 10 OF 40 - Prioritize Prayer Over Problems
Create space for prayer—serious supplications for a serious work.

 In Lesson 10, the authors discuss how we spend so much time focusing on the work our organization does for God, and how, sometimes, we can minimize God Himself. The concept is that prayer shouldn’t just be a token ritual, or simply an agenda item (somewhere between the “Call to Order” and “Approval of Minutes”).  

Instead, this chapter suggests that how we come before God affects every aspect of the meeting that follows. It’s almost as if we’re acknowledging that God actually cares about what happens in our board meetings.  

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 10, pages 48-51:
 Dan Bolin’s prayer! It is inspired—and you can get it and use it for free! (See Lesson 40.)
• “Christ-centered governance has a boardroom distinctive that requires the right theology and serious intentionality about prayer.”
• “When you take time to pray…God promises to hear and act.”

The first time I read Dan Bolin’s board prayer in Lesson 40, I instantly wondered if he had somehow secretly been listening in on every board meeting I’ve ever attended. It was as if he wrote the prayer because of events and issues our board has faced.  

It’s clear that Bolin knows well the challenges, temptations, and curveballs that come when you fill a room with influential men and women, and then ask them to come together as one body.

Though this chapter is about a time when I forgot to bring  “A Board Prayer” to our board meeting, I can assure you that it has never been forgotten since! 


Jeff Lilley is the president of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, which serves the poor and broken throughout Seattle and King County in Washington State. Jeff serves on multiple other boards, and has been active as a board coach for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust’s Board Leadership and Development Program. He also has 17 grandkids, who are all better looking than yours. His favorite books include The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, Humility by Andrew Murray, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Jeff can be found on Instagram @JeffL7, or the Mission’s website here.

• Make photocopies of “A Board Prayer” (Lesson 40), one per board member, and have it ready for the next board meeting!
• Buy copies of your favorite book on prayer and send one to every board member, with a note that you are praying for them. (Which, of course, means you better actually pray for them!)


On Jan. 31, 2018, watch for Steve Macchia's commentary on Lesson 11, "Tap! Tap! Tap! When the Spirit nudges your board, does he hear a busy signal?"

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