Simple Method Focuses & Unites Family in Prayer
By Patricia Smith, President, Anglican Women of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina
Women mentoring women,” is the second half of our Anglican Women’s mission statement. The idea of mentoring or being mentored might seem daunting, yet doing it is often simpler than we think. Sometimes it’s just an idea shared that changes how we live. Years ago, I was “mentored” by an 80+ year old grandmother, living in the mid-west, without her even knowing it, when she very casually shared something that resonated in my spirit: The Prayer Card.
I told her that praying for our ever-expanding family (which now numbers 20), was becoming a bit of a burden. My husband and I wanted to lift up everyone’s needs, but we felt the burden of becoming prayer pack horses. There had to be a better way!
Here’s what she did: At the beginning of each year she asked all family members, children included, for one single prayer request. She compiled the list via email and then sent it out to all the family members, requesting they pray for one another. At the end of each year around Christmas, they would share, either in person or via email, their praise reports of how God met their need. The new requests were then compiled for the upcoming year.
In 2014 as our entire family gathered in Illinois for Christmas, I felt it was the perfect time to get it rolling! The hardest part was encouraging everyone to limit their requests to just one. To this day, even though I ask for one, somehow two, three or four requests are sent in. With four married children and 10 grandchildren, my husband and myself, I pray for one family per day.
Each January I resend the former years’ requests back to them. They send in the new prayer requests and their wonderful praise reports from the previous year. Some years we are able to share in person the joy of one another’s victories and agree to persevere in prayer for the still unanswered ones. I compile the Prayer Card and send it to each family.
How has It worked? God has worked. Yearly requests range from:
We also share the fellowship of suffering alongside one another. Support and connection on a heart level becomes normal, especially for those far away. And I take joy in passing on a legacy of praying for one another, of trusting God for the future, of remembering to stay connected with one another in good times and difficult ones.
That little grandmother didn’t know she was mentoring me in how to more intentionally love my husband and children when she casually shared a practice, she started years ago. Mentoring takes on many forms. I will ever be grateful that she opened up her life to me and passed on something that has become a vital tool in building family unity, and bearing, through prayer, one another’s burdens.