This is a tentative post today. I’m writing it with much less confidence…largely because I don’t have a lot of experience to back it up. I’m not really happy to say that, but it’s the truth.
Mentoring through prayer…
your kids, grandkids, spiritual daughters, whoever!
This post is on mentoring through prayer. I’m realizing that to write about mentoring means I must write about prayer. It’s a topic I don’t like to write about because I feel so ineffective at it.
Why? Because I really don’t pray like I need to. I’m an oldest child. I’m one of those people who has gutted it out most of my life. Granted, this kind of living involves a lot of stressful moments…what am I talking about? It involves many stressful hours and days!
I always seemed to feel I needed to exude a calm exterior…you know, the kind that nurses exhibit in times of emergencies? That’s me. Internally, my head was pounding or my stomach was churning but on the outside? All was fine. My alternate exterior was the happy, cheerful one that either entertained or cheered those around me who were sad or lonely.
Growing up in a home that was rather chaotic, with a depressed mom who tried to live in denial re her condition was a little weird…well, a lot weird actually. I don’t ever remember making a conscous decision to cheer people up. It was there long before I remember making a conscious decision about it!
Learning to pray means trusting GOD like a child,
to work in every detail of my life
I just remember feeling a bit on my own (despite a brother and sister born a year and 3 years after I was). It never occured to me to ask for help when I was sad or lonely or was over my head experience-wise. It wasn’t until I married that I figured out I had someone to help me.
I did pray for help in making major decisions. But I plowed through most of the time in a context of many set rules within which I made my decisions and tried not to bother my busy parents who were doing GOD’s work.
Many of my decisions seemed too unimportant to bother GOD with. I would never have stated it that way, but functionally, that was often how I lived.
Even trusting Him to change my kids/mentees on His agenda, not mine!
So one really helpful part of the book on prayer that has taken me a very long time to absorb: A Praying Life, has been the mentoring aspect of it. I’m just starting to grab it. I think it is because being quiet and not speaking to issues I see developing are foreign concepts to me.
Speaking up can be good, but it also can be terrible! Sometimes GOD needs time to work in a person’s heart and change them from the inside…without all the external static. Without all the noise of expectations and opinions…even the ones from people who love them and may even have good advice.
So here is something Paul Miller started doing with his kids (yes, he had the same tendency I do!). When he noticed a problem like for example, a tendency toward arrogance, instead of saying something to his child directly, he would pray Scripture to GOD for a specific change he wanted to see in his child. Maybe he came across something like Psalm 25:9 in His Bible reading.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
Here is his system, but you don’t have to do it on 3×5 cards like he does
The system he uses to pray is 3×5 cards for each person, that he carries with him all the time. Whenever he has to wait during the day, he pulls them out and starts where he left off. He doesn’t pray through a lot of specific details usually. Just verses like this over a period of months. Then he watches GOD work in the lives of his kids who are all grown up now.
He no longer has to manipulate or control. He no longer has to play the Holy Spirit in the lives of his kids.
Is there a place for conversations with your kids re their attitudes? Yes, of course. But I find that particularly when they are grown, particularly when they are living far from you, it can come across critically instead of lovingly.
This also carries through with anyone. You may have traits you see in your spouse that you find difficult to discuss. You can pray Scripture for them for areas that you want GOD to change in them.
Watching GOD change other people results in something interesting. I change too!
There is an interesting side benefit that comes from this. As you are watching for these changes in your kids or others for whom you are praying, GOD makes you aware of the changes that need to take place in you! Often in the very areas you are praying for other people in your life, He works to change YOU!
It is so cool how He does that!
I have started praying some prayers for some of the people in my life and have been amazed at how GOD has worked in their lives to change them.
Imagine if I were doing it more often?
Are you willing to try this for the next month?
Jot down what happens so you don’t forget…
or ignore what seem to be minor changes.