'Closest to the People'

Praying for Our Local Leaders

'Closest to the People'

Praying for Our Local Leaders

Sometime around the year 2000, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, then mayor of Charlotte—the state’s largest city—was driving along a city road, listening to a local radio station. His thoughts drifted back and forth from what was playing on the radio to the weighty issues of city government.

He was into his fifth year as mayor, and the pressure was closing in. As he drove along that day, he was drawn to a broadcast from David Chadwick, pastor of Forest Hill Church in Charlotte. He didn’t know Chadwick, but something about the man’s teaching pounded into McCrory’s soul.

He pulled off to the side of the road and dialed the number that was given by the announcer at the end of the broadcast.

“I need help,” he told Chadwick. “I’m under a great deal of pressure, and I need your help and your prayers.”

Chadwick immediately set about assembling a group of prayer warriors to meet with the mayor weekly to help him pray for guidance and wisdom in leading his city.

McCrory, who had served three terms on the city council, went on to serve 14 years as mayor of Charlotte and helped bring tens of thousands of jobs to the region. He is quick to acknowledge how important it was to know that the members of his prayer group were praying for him during his days as mayor. Local government leaders desperately need prayer, he says, at least as much as national leaders—if not more.

“Local leaders are the ones that are closest to the people and can’t escape from their neighbors and their friends and their colleagues who know every step they’re taking,” he said. “And often, they go on to run for national office.”

As governor, McCrory has continued his tradition of meeting for prayer.

“I have a little group that meets once a week in the governor’s executive mansion,” he said. “We have met since my second month in office. None of them are involved in politics. We have prayer and Bible study, and when I miss it, I can feel it because I can get caught up in the rat race very quickly. ”

McCrory seeks God’s wisdom “every moment of the day,” and he covets the prayers of his constituents, for God’s continued wisdom, guidance and serenity. But above all, he asks for prayers for his family.

“They didn’t volunteer for public service,” he said. “And yet they often feel more pressure than I do, because they take it personally when I’m attacked, whether it be through the newspaper, verbally or on the street, or on TV, or through the blogs.”

This not only includes his wife, Ann, but also extends to his siblings—one brother and two sisters—and their families.

“I’m concerned about my nephews and nieces who share my name,” he said. “They are confronted on the street. Just as I pray as much for the families of those soldiers who are overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq as I do the soldiers themselves … so I ask for the prayer for family members who feel the aftereffects of a spouse or a loved one who enters public service.” ©2014 BGEA

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