Before your freak out, that title is somewhat sarcastic. I don't believe there is one pattern that Christians can follow to be successful in life or ministry. Though, there are some basic things the Bible suggests for Holy living, that is more what I am discussing here.
The command is simple "be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray." I find it so difficult to remain clear minded, so many things pine for my attention whether it be, ministry, music, television or words with friends (the iphone app), there is always a reason not to remain in silence and limit my activities. But the command is simple so the choice is simple. We need to learn to focus on prayer. Time alone with God is what brought Jesus through His most difficult times (Matthew 26:36), it is His time with God that directed Him (Mark 1:35-39). What makes us so different? Nothing it is that time, purposefully chosen out of our day that makes a huge difference. Time that so few of us seem to take, myself included.
For a long while verse a confused me with the statement "love covers over a multitude of sins." I thought to myself "I thought Jesus' sacrifice was the only thing that forgave sins!" Both statements are true but deal with different scenarios. This love which covers over sin is talking about interpersonal relationships. It looks at relationships between people or churches and asks us to look past petty arguments. In a marriage relationship, so I am told, you must choose your battles. The love that we have for each other is no different. We need to learn to leave petty grievances behind and forgive (cover over) these tiny things that cause so much division in relationships. In doing so we can work together to do God's will more effectively. The Church, meaning the body of believers, would have so much more impact if we weren't arguing over child baptism, pre-destination, hymns or choruses. It is great to have these discussions but not to allow them to divide us.
This love we show should work itself out in service. That service can take any form that God has laid on your heart and is in line with scripture. But here the motivation is key. Are you serving through gritted teeth? Are you trying to check something off your list? Or, is the love of Christ compelling you? The latter should be your motivation, if it is not, slow down and pray.
God has gifted us all differently according to His great wisdom. This is amazing because it means if your ministry looks different then mine, it's okay! You don't have to be like me and I don't have to be like you because God has created us uniquely. We are to take those gifts and begin "faithfully administering God's grace in it's various forms." It is far to often that our serving of the Lord replaces our relationship with the Lord. We do this by serving out of our own strength using our wisdom and we wonder why we get so tired. As you go out and speak "the very words of God…. with the strength God provides" a good practice is to go into all situations praying. In the letter from James 4:2b-3 he says "You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." You want to see God move, follow the pattern setup in this section.
Pray, check motives, pray, check motives, pray, check motives, pray.
The overall pattern in our culture is that we do things in order to be recognized for our accomplishments. The pattern for the Christian is that we do things so that God is glorified for all His good works. Are you, through selfishness, taking the place of God? We have all been there. But there is a simple way out. Check your motives, pray and see what God does.