The phone rang in the Bishop’s office. Another call to come to a church and help resolve a conflict. So, he made an appointment to speak at a Sunday service there.[i]
During the service, he made this announcement: “I will be at the church every day this week in the sanctuary for prayer. Please join me. However, know this: I will not be here to discuss anything. I will not be talking about the controversy. I will be here to pray.”
The Bishop kept his word. Arrived every day and prayed. Some joined him.
At the end of the week, he offered to come back and discuss the issue at hand.
“No need. We’ve resolved the problem.”
Why do we so often turn to prayer as a last resort instead of the first?
I often focus on people skills – after all, that’s my calling and specialty – yet prayer should always be our first rather than last resort.
With that in mind, I’d like to share an excerpt from a worksheet we use in our Conflict Mastery course.
1- Us (Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7).
2- Others (praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Eph 6:18).
3- Spiritual forces (For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph. 6:12).
Questions for prayerful reflection in the midst of conflict:
1- What does God want to accomplish through this conflict
2- How does God want to change me through this conflict?
3- How does God want to change others through this conflict?
4- How can we as a team/congregation grow through this conflict?
Prayers to Pray in Conflict:
1- Give me a heart of mercy (Eph. 4:32)
2- Help me to stay positive and stay encouraged in the midst of negativity (Ro 12:21)
3- Help me not to take this criticism too personally
4- Help me to see this/these person/persons the way that you see them
5- Help me to see myself the way that you see me
6- Give me the words to speak
7- Heal wounds and bring us closer to you
8- Help us to practice forgiveness
My challenge to you this week: if you find yourself embroiled in a conflict, step back, kneel down, lift up prayer to God. See what He will do.
You may save yourself and others heartache and grief.
[i] This is based on a true story related to me by a pastor who serves under this Bishop.