Richard Kriegbaum: Leadership Prayers—Identity


Spirit (Photo credit: cangermann)


It’s not really me, God.
It’s just what I do.

I lead as an
expression of who
I am, yet I must
always be more than
the leadership role
I play. People may
see me in terms of
the visible leadership
role which God has
entrusted to me,
but God knows
who I really am.
My integrity as a
person—and as a
leader—depends on

what I do as God sees them.

Man looks at the outward seeing myself and
appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7, NIV 

GOD, this leadership role that I play from
time to time, this character I assume, is
a gift from you. You know I am not essentially
the head of all this. I am merely your child, trying
to become like you and do what you want.

Playing “leader” for a while is a great role in
this real-life drama of The Good King vs. The Evil
Prince. But unless you work a miracle, I will not
play the role well, and the people I care about so
much will suffer.

I know how the story goes: The Evil Prince

tries to deceive, disrupt, and destroy anything good

I might do. I know that in the long run truth

wins, and at the very end good triumphs. I even

know which ideas and values are supposed to control
each character, including mine. But I also
know that I have to write the script as I go and
help other people play their parts. And I have to
coordinate our script with all the other scripts in
other parts of your kingdom. It is beyond me, but
if you will whisper the cues, I will improvise.

Unless your Spirit informs and encourages me,
I will not know how to play my part. I will stand
foolishly silent on the stage, not knowing what I
can do or even what I truly like to do. Worst of
all, I will not know what I cannot do. Unless you
intervene, I will blow my lines and miss my cues

and confuse all the others. Help me sense my
spiritual gifts so I will attempt only what you
especially enable me to do and lead only where
you are at work.

Do not let this leadership role consume me.
Do not let me think that I have become my character.
Remind my spirit who I really am so that
when I go home I will not keep acting like the
CEO. Guide me to do what is best for my family
and for my own health.

Please help me keep it all straight. Leadership
is extremely important, and I want intensely to
do it right, but sometimes I forget where the role

ends and I start. So I want your Spirit to

remind me, however
and whenever you
have to…

It’s not really me,

 It’s just what  I do.

If you will, God,whisper the cues, I will improvise.



The mother and daughter seated across the desk
from me were very angry. Both felt that they had
been misled about university housing and financial
aid. The daughter seemed willing to state her case,
hope for some concessions, and get back to her
studies. But the mother contended with righteous
intensity that it was the principle of the thing.

How could I, the president, allow such a thing

to happen at a Christian university? It would be

unacceptable even in a secular institution. She was

mad, and she held me responsible.

I listened, acknowledged their pain and frustra
tion, made sure they had appealed to the right

staff people, apologized for any misunderstandings,

asked what they specifically wanted me to do, and

promised to look into it and get back to them.

My empathy for them was sincere, my inner
spirit at peace. Why? Because I was able to sepa
rate my basic identity from my leadership role. I
knew that these women did not hate me personally.
They were simply enraged at whoever happened
to be the president.

Whenever I base my identity or worth as a
person on my role as a leader, I betray myself
and miss God’s best for me. I am not inherently
the leader. I am God’s child whom he dearly
loves whether people are pleased or angry with
my decisions, whether I succeed or fail.

My next appointment that day was with a couple
who were thrilled with their child’s experience
at the university. I accepted their praise—but as
the president, not personally. It works both ways.

Excerpted from Leadership Prayers Copyright © 1998 by Richard Kriegbaum. Edited by David Horton Designed by Julie Chen

First Chapters….

Related articles