The Praying Partner

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 2, 2016 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

There is no such thing as a lone wolf Christian. We are never meant to walk out our faith alone. There is a time and place to get alone with God. There are times where God needs to move you forward without taking anyone else with you. I will talk about that next week. This is about the need for working together and for the Body of Christ to work together.

One thing I must confess here: I have never had someone teach me how to pray. I have also never had a real spiritual mentor. I grew up on the mission field, and my parents are Godly people. They did not know even a fraction of the doctrine I know now. They did not know how to teach me how to walk with Christ. But their faith was genuine. I knew they knew to depend upon God for their daily needs. They taught me that I could trust God and his promises in the Bible. It was not easy, but in the end one of my sisters and I are actively in ministry today.

Why do I bring this up? Every person needs someone to teach them in the faith and every person needs someone to teach. I have had many influence me, but I cannot think of anyone who has really taught me one-on-one how to live out true Christianity. You need a father in the faith and you need to be a father. I have not had a real “father” in the faith. My dad was the one that lead me to Christ when I was seven years old, but he did not know how to teach me to pray even remotely in the sense I have been learning. I do know, however, that he did pray and still does. He just did not know how to teach me to pray other than to “just pray.” He is not a theologian, nor a scholar. His faith is overall very simple and very trusting, and I could not ask for a better father. Unfortunately, this left me not truly understanding how prayer really is supposed to work beyond the basic, elementary levels. E.M Bounds had a lot to say about this:

"Where are the Christian leaders who can teach the modern saints how to pray and put them at it? Do we know we are raising up a prayerless set of saints? Where are the apostolic leaders who can put God's people to praying. Let them come to the front and do the work, and it will be the greatest work that can be done. … We put it as our most sober judgment that the great need of the church is this and all ages is men of such commanding faith, of such unsullied holiness, of such marked spiritual vigor and consuming zeal, that their prayers, faith, lives, and ministry will be of such a radical and aggressive form as to work spiritual revolutions with will form eras in individual and Church life." ~Bounds: The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds page 50

I do not want to complain about what I was not given, however I see a significant need for spiritual mentors and prayer partners to build us in our faith. Who is teaching us how to pray? Who is helping us in our walk? What kind of people do we turn to when we need a mentor or a partner? Do we have mentors that seek to strengthen our walk with Christ or do we surround ourselves with people who will just tell us what we want to hear?

Rehoboam was the son of the wisest person who ever lived besides Christ in Solomon. He had the chance to listen to his father’s advisors, but he preferred to listen to his own friends and as a result the people rebelled against him. Asa started out as a good king but at the end of his life, he lost his faith. When a disease affected his feet, he refused to consult the Lord and instead consulted the physicians. He did not seek God’s advice on the matter. Saul went a step even further than these two. When he disobeyed God over and over again, God refused to speak to him. So Saul sought to get a word from Samuel, who was dead, through a medium at Endor. Necromancy is explicitly forbidden in the Law. All three of these needed a wise mentor and did not seek nor heed them. David, however, did when he sinned with Bathsheba and with the census. He listened to the prophets Nathan and Gad. David had wise mentors and listened to them. Rehoboam, Asa, and Saul had access to wise counselors and did not utilize them.

Eric Ludy in his sermon Five Smooth Stones talks about the development of new Christian leaders in his Bible college, Ellerslie. One thing Ludy said was when a student would come to the staff to ask for prayer, they would turn them around and ask: “Have you prayed about this yourself first?” This was not to turn them down, but to establish a pattern of turning to God and to prayer first. Too often, however, we turn to the philosophies and practices of the world first and to God last. This is what good mentors will do: teach their pupils how to lean upon God.

Aside from just mentors, do we have prayer partners? Do we have someone we can turn to when we are going through struggles who will pray with us, cover our sins, and lift us up? This is another area I lack. There are very few men I know that I could trust to take me where I need to go, and most of them live somewhere other than El Paso. My own pastor is a Godly man and I have gone to him for counsel, but he is not meant to be the mentor type, at least for now (and I have been praying about that). There is one friend who went with me to the Cadre that would love to be a prayer partner with me, but we have not worked out how to do that due to our schedules.

Something my pastor told me about was a practice another pastor did. This pastor had a yearly physical, and after one of them God asked him about getting a spiritual. Without a clue about what that meant, God said to choose five of his closest friends, pay their way for a three-day retreat, and allow them to perform a spiritual examination of him. This pastor said it was one of the greatest experiences he ever had.

Back in March, I got to taste what this would look like over a short 3-hour session. The friend I mentioned above, my parents, and another dear friend (who is not local) formed a “prayer posse” and we took care of some business. It is something I would love to do again for a longer time. It is also something I would love to do for someone else.

Everyone needs someone feeding them and everyone needs someone to feed. We cannot do this alone. We need to work together as a body, unified in Christ, even if our doctrines vary. However, we must not choose partners and mentors who will not bring us closer to Christ. Bad things happen if we are unwise in this regard. How do we choose our prayer partners, our mentors, and our pupils? Jesus spent all night in prayer before choosing his 12 disciples. The secret to a good prayer partner is to first be in prayer yourself. Next week, I will address the need for a quiet time, a personal time with God.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I too have felt the lack of a mentor. Am trying to learn from God how to be a mentor to someone.

Charlie said...

Thank you for reading my post, Anonymous. I know the feeling. Paul told us that we have many preachers but few fathers. But if we never had the mentor and spiritual father we need, we can break the cycle by being a father to someone else. I do pray that my prayer series has been a blessing to you.

Charlie Wolcott