Praying is some of the hardest work we do, as evidenced how difficult we find it to pray consistently. J.B. Wood is a business executive and colleague in the faith-and-work movement. In the following article he writes about the value of having a prayer partner. The article was originally posted on the Patheos Faith & Work Channel.
I have had a prayer partner for the past year and a half. His name is Mike, and he also happens to be a blogger, at The Daily Saint. As far as I’m concerned, this is worth a few extra points, in addition to the prayer.
I met Mike at an event put on by A New Equilibrium last year at the Princeton Seminary on the topic of integrating Spirituality and Leadership. At one point in the seminar, our instructor made everyone stand up and find a random partner, someone we hadn’t met yet, to do some kind of exercise. Mike was standing there across the aisle, so we approached each other and shook hands to introduce ourselves. Then, without any warning, our instructor said, “Now, say hello to your new prayer partner!”
Just like that, our prayer partner fate was sealed.
Just so you know, these things don’t always work out. Many of those paired prayer partners fizzled into oblivion due to lack of chemistry, or their resentment of being forced into a prayer partnership, or maybe they just didn’t like the idea of saying a prayer out loud, over the phone, directed towards someone they didn’t know all that well.
Prayer can seem weird.
Mike is President of a private high school, which, if you ask me, requires much more leadership finesse than what I’m doing here in the corporate world. I might attempt to have an impact on shareholders, but Mike is impacting kids for the rest of their lives and beyond.
Our initial assignment was to call each other once a week and do nothing more than read a short, pre-packaged prayer. This particular prayer, written for us on a laminated card, talked about things such as surrendering to God, revealing God’s love, and asking for God to show us the pathways that better glorify him.
In other words, “Dear God, please show us what to do because most of the time we have no idea. Amen.” Very suitable to our leadership roles at work.
Our prayer partnership is not perfect. Sometimes we’ll miss a week or two, and often times we have to exchange three or four DMs via Twitter (Mike’s preferred mode of communication these days) before we can settle on a date and time that works for both of us.
One time I left the prayer for him on a voice mail, transcending space and time through the invisible heavenly streams of Verizon wireless. I think God is pretty flexible with that type of thing.
Every so often we’ll meet in person at a conveniently located Panera Bread, where we share an early breakfast to catch up with each other in more depth. We talk about our work, our careers, our families and our churches.
Even though we’re both bloggers, the funny thing is that we hardly ever talk about blogging. Except when we sign off, Mike often says, “See ya in cyberspace.” I like that.
What’s great about a prayer partner is that it allows you to share parts of your life with someone that you otherwise may not talk about. But it also helps me to stop and think about how I’m doing. Knowing that Mike is going to be calling for prayer forces me to take a quick spiritual/career self-awareness inventory: “What’s been happening? Where am I struggling? What have I overcome? What do I need help with?” And then we chat for a few minutes, and say the prayer.
It sounds trite and silly, but it’s really nice to know someone cares.
If you’ve never had a prayer partner, you should get one. But not Mike. You’ll have to get one of your own.