Whether leaders recognise it or not this is what can totally change situations and transform circumstances that appear dark and bleak and hopeless, and yet so very few men in leadership are aware of this.
Down through the centuries it has been this that has changed societies and nations and rescued morality from going down any further and lifted lives that were so pained and empty of meaning and significance.
The topic I am referring to is prayer.
How boring? That was how a colleague responded when he heard of people meeting for prayer, and praying for an hour, or over an hour! "Whatever could you say for an hour? How would you fill the time?"
Soon, he discovered that an hour was never long enough.
He had been educated at Eton where he attended Chapel daily, but he and God never met. Following a distinguished career at King's College, Cambridge, he then entered the army where he experienced a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. This man became one of the most influential leaders which the Church of Jesus Christ witnessed throughout the whole of last century but his spiritual dynamism has as yet to be fully recognised and appreciated.
As these disciples of Jesus waited for something to happen, and they did not know what the nature of that might be, they gave themselves to prayer. The brothers of Jesus were present, as was His mother, Mary.
In one sense, they were desperate, and prayer is for those who are desperate, and for those who are desperately concerned about the state of the Church, and the condition of the nation.
Jesus regularly communed with His Father, very often early in the morning, when it was quiet, and when He knew He would not be disturbed and interrupted.
The Church of Jesus Christ was birthed during a prayer meeting, and the new believers were encouraged from the outset to devote themselves to prayer.
When the growing demands upon the church were increasing, the leadership delegated various responsibilities to others, but they were giving their attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.
John's brother Jacob had been executed, Peter's life was under threat, and the church earnestly prayed for him. Peter's release from prison was miraculous.
When Saul of Tarsus and the risen Lord Jesus Christ met outside Damascus, Saul spent the next three days in prayer.
Might this have been one of the secrets of Paul's spiritually successful ministry?
Might this be the secret which the world has lost in these troubled and troublesome days?
A leader who prays and who gives himself to prayer will see changes take place of which he had never dreamt or expected possible.
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org/ entitled "Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.