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Why You Should Get a Prayer Partner

November 16, 2011

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 Presdent 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.

You can follow Mike on Twitter at @thedailysaint.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2011 9:47 am

    Hi Bradley, Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging comments on my post on “Where is God in All This?”

    I came right over more out of delight with your blog title, “Shrinking the Camel” than simple blog etiquette. I was just reflecting this morning over that scripture about getting a camel through the eye of the needle. I’ve heard all the messages that explain Jesus didn’t really mean a literal needle. But that’s what he said. And that seems not just impossible, but ridiculously so. But God specializes in the ridiculously impossible!!

    Now I’ll go read your thoughts on the title. And I’ll be back. Thank you for being quick confirmation of what God was showing me before dawn. Just today.

    He astounds me.

    • November 16, 2011 8:19 pm

      Great meeting you here, Beverly. Yours was a great post, too! Keep up the good writing on the challenging subject of integrating faith and business life. The more of us thinking through those issues, the better. 🙂

  2. November 16, 2011 10:49 am

    Ha! If we were meeting at Panera Bread, you would not have to contact me more than once! Although that seems to be the ‘in thing’ now days, you have to contact someone a few times before they commit. Do we really live such a busy life, or has it become so easy for us to avoid so much personal contact, and then there are those who over commit period, fumbling to keep up with everything. So it is good they recognize limiting their time, priorities is another name LOL See I am rambling again…

    I like that mode of getting your audience up off of their keesters and then letting them know what the purpose was.

    Bradley, I was actually thinking of a post about how I am ending up with these partners from open mics, people who seem to gravitate toward me for friendship, quirky people. I will define quirky later, but maybe I should have them all meet, stand up and say “Okay you have met your prayer partner”. The looks on their faces…

    • November 16, 2011 8:23 pm

      About Panera — I know, right? You probably know exactly the Panera I’m talking about (Flemington, right after the circle).

      And about quirky friends – I love quirky. I am drawn to quirky. Especially after 50 hours a week of corporate rigamorole, I need quirkiness in art, poetry, writing, wherever. I love the thought of you standing at an open mic in Princeton and pairing up all the quirks into long-term orbiting partners. (all right; that sounds like it could be a physics project also).

      Always enjoy your input, E.

  3. November 16, 2011 12:29 pm

    Wow, it seems your pairing was more than just a coincidence.
    I don’t have a specific prayer partner related to every area of my life, but rather multiple people who pray over certain ministries that we participate in. Perhaps I need to look for such a partner. I have an accountability partner, which has been great – so I know the power of getting together with someone who cares about you.

    • November 16, 2011 8:25 pm

      Yes, there’ s something about the consistency and the long-term nature of our prayer partnership. It’s not like I don’t get prayer from others, or pray for and with others under other circumstances, but this is something that is kind of constant.

      An accountability partner sounds interesting — I’d like to hear more about that. Accountable to what, exactly?

  4. November 16, 2011 2:15 pm

    More Christian faith stuff happens at Panera (here we call it St. Louis Bread Company) than anyone can imagine — prayer partners, small group meetings, Bible studies, you name it. I live about a block and a half from the very first store they opened.

    Good counsel, Brad. As usual.

    • November 16, 2011 8:27 pm

      No kidding!? I remember reading about St Louis Bread Co. in Inc. magazine many moons ago. I didn’t realize it was the predecessor to the famous Panera Bread. Such an awesome store. I have not idea how they mass produce such high quality bakery products, but I am so glad they do! And it’s nice that they allow for the “hanging out” factor. I am sure, like you say, that encourages much fellowshippingness. (even if that’s not a word)

      • November 21, 2011 12:22 pm

        I lived in St Louis for a few years, and worked for the company as a consulting menu chef, it was originally St. Louis Bread company and is know so in the mid-west. Only outside of this is it called Panera Bread. Same company.

        They have warehouses that produce and send out early early morning to each store location. No mass production yet, or they could not maintain the quality. Some is baked in store if space allows, soups too, ummm
        soup…oh the memory of scooping blueberry muffins on third shift…

  5. November 16, 2011 5:31 pm

    My prayer partner had moved away for awhile but has since returned. What a gift it is.

  6. November 16, 2011 7:22 pm

    I have prayed “with” many via technology. Often, when someone texts me a prayer request, I text my prayer back–from my fingertips, via Verizon, to God’s ears. Or something like that. My husband has met weekly, over the course of many years, with the same two guys for breakfast and prayer. I appreciate their presence in his life for many of the reasons you’ve given.

    • November 16, 2011 8:32 pm

      THis is interesting to me, the prayer via texting and voicemail and email and blogging. I know someone in particular who does a lot of praying via email messages and such. Like I said, it’s weird. But it’s perfectly fine, and I am sure brings a great deal of encouragement and spiritual lift to those people and situations. Look at all the prayers written out in the bible. Now, there’s a great example.

      So glad for the example too of your husbands prayer breakfast circle. Those must be some powerful bonds going on there. Tell him I said so.

  7. November 16, 2011 7:50 pm

    I have a few prayer partners, I guess…my husband and I pray together before bed every night. My boss and I exchange prayer requests. So do my co-grandma (my daughter’s MIL) and I.

    And several of my blogging buddies–always through FB messages, I think.

    Does that count?

    • November 16, 2011 8:34 pm

      Yes, yes, yes, that counts! One more digital prayer pathway that I forgot – FB messages. It all works! It’s interesting too how blogging friends can actually become spiritual sources of support and friendship – like, real, true, meaningful friendships.

      Also weird but true.

    • robert simiyu permalink
      May 3, 2012 6:30 am

      am doing my exams and i need prayers

  8. November 16, 2011 9:21 pm

    partner
    late 13c., from O.Fr. parcener “joint heir”…

    i suppose that all Christians are partners in God.

    Good to hear of your friendship with Mike.

    I will have to ask God about that kind of thing and me.

  9. November 17, 2011 9:11 am

    I have such a deep “soul” connection with the people who I have prayed with over the years. I’m glad that you’ve found Mike.

  10. November 17, 2011 1:49 pm

    There is just SO much about this post that I love! First of all, I am simply wowed by how you and Mike met and got established as prayer partners. Was that really stepping out of your comfort zone? I think I would have wigged to have introduced myself to a stranger who suddenly became my prayer partner!

    I absolutely love how you and Mike gave it a go and that it worked — that is just a beautiful thing. And I love how you had kind of a generic prayer to get you going at first, because really, it must be kind of awkward to pray with a stranger at first, right?

    I don’t have a prayer partner (that’s probably obvious from my awe here). But I admit, I am kind of enticed by the idea.

  11. November 17, 2011 1:59 pm

    I have had prayer partners before. It was deeply encouraging. Then came a move, and another one, and another one. I think I will begin to ask God for a new prayer partner here in our new location. You have made me think of it, and I know it is a movement of the Spirit in my life right now. Thank you!

    BTW, I have a new blog project at http://poterion.blogspot.com/ ….which I am designing to share the truth of what Jesus offers us to graduate students.

    And I was asked to post at Columbia International University’s Blog “Timeless Truth” http://timelesstruth.posterous.com/the-bible-is-gods-book-for-us today.

    I thought you might enjoy seeing these other blogs.

  12. November 18, 2011 11:01 pm

    Isn’t it wonderful how God just draws you to certain people? I just discovered your blog today, and even though I am not in the corporate world, I know I will learn a lot from you, so I am putting you in my favorite places. As for prayer partners; I never thought of the importance before. Prayers are either really personal or corporate (church, study group, etc.) What a wonderful thing it would be to have a regular prayer partner. I think I’ll see if God will lead me to one.
    Now, for the important question: What is Panera Bread? I don’t think we have that in my part of the world – but it sounds like something we need.
    And, I will visit The Daily Saint. God bless you, and thank you.

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