Lecture Focuses on Spiritual IntimacyChristian Union’s ministry in a key urban setting is highlighting the connection between prayer and the supernatural as it offers mentoring and training to young professionals.
“We are seeking to draw people into all aspects of the faith,” said Scott Crosby, ministry director of Christian Union New York. “We want to make the supernatural aspects of Christianity a little more natural to engage. The supernatural is very common in other parts of the world.”
Christian Union offers ministry to young professionals in New York City. From his base in Manhattan, Crosby oversees Bible courses, mentoring sessions, industry network gatherings, forums, and other events.
Given the role of the supernatural to equip believers, Crosby tapped Nyack College Professor Wanda Walborn to deliver a talk entitled Listening to God as a Leader during this summer’s Christian Union Cities Conference in Manhattan. At its core, experiencing the presence of God involves developing spiritual intimacy, Walborn explained.
More than two decades ago, Walborn was ministering alongside her husband at their Northern California church, when the mother of four felt the Lord prompting her to shelve ecclesial duties and instead focus upon personal prayer.
Walborn altered her schedule to master the basics of a heart of prayer. Much of her journey was spent engaging with a Bible and journal during extended periods of solitude. The pastor’s wife wanted to learn to recognize clearly the voice of the Lord to assist with future ministry endeavors. However, a flourishing prayer life involves patience, a practice that does not come easily to present-day believers.
Christians “must become comfortable listening. Waiting is a natural part of listening,” she said. The Lord was “teaching me about personal intimacy with Him.”
At the Christian Union Cities Conference, Walborn highlighted the powerful words of Isaiah 50:4: “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning He awakens; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.”
Walborn, Nyack’s Director of Spiritual Formation, also showcased the Old Testament hero Moses as an example of someone who tuned his ear to the voice of the Lord. Turning to Exodus 19:5, Walborn explained that the Lord wants His people to seek Him with “intentionality and purposefulness” and be faithful to obey His instructions.
Such ancient lessons also apply to twenty-first-century Christians.
“We are carriers of the presence of God. When the presence of God comes near, you take notice,” Walborn said. “Our first job as a listening leader is to invite people to come near.”
Christians need to step out in faith, especially as they learn to reflect the supernatural in ministry. “He will have our back,” said Walborn. “Don’t be one who stays at a distance. God is going to keep stretching you.”
Conversely, mature Christians do not make major moves without sensing the presence of God. “A listening leader will not go without the presence of God,” said Walborn, “There is something about listening to God. You can trust Him.”
Prayer is a critical, timeless component of leadership and ministry. “It’s worth every minute of it. He has called us for such a time as this. He wants to bring His kingdom in and through you,” Walborn said. “You are going to need that supernatural aspect of His voice and His presence to get you to the next level.”
Ultimately, prayer is at the heart of celestial warfare, and a leader expects to contend for the promises of God, she said.
“That’s where the work is done. That is the place of breakthrough,” said Walborn. “That is the place where the strategy of God is revealed.”