by Jeannine Mitchell
Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:19-20 (ESV)
The idea of praying out loud in front of people made me feel ... well, to be honest, a little queasy. Will I be judged? Will I offend someone? Will I be putting on a show as I desire to be accepted by those listening instead of being sincere and authentic in my prayers? These questions held me back from completely entering into an obedience that God calls us to.
Growing up, I witnessed other people in mentoring relationships from afar. I often wondered if I would get to experience that one-on-one relationship with someone who was available and took the time to truly know me. I have experienced some aspects of being mentored in what we would call “organic mentoring" – friendships with women that weren't necessarily called mentors but I was still learning from them, experiencing authenticity and growing in my faith and relationships.
Years of wondering and waiting for a mentor came to an end when I met Nancy. It was clear that she was the one. It took me two years to ask her to be my mentor. I didn’t know if it was appropriate for me to ask this of her. When I did ask years later, she was ready and willing. We dove right into the mentoring guide as a purposeful tool to guide our conversation. We live in different states so our time spent together was over the phone. Our conversations were sweet and intimate as we used the conversation starters to get to know one another. The prayer starters were also exactly what I needed to shed myself of the fears that come along with the vulnerabilities of praying out loud.
Nancy modeled grace for me using Scripture as a guideline for having conversations together with Jesus. We would spend time praising, confessing, thanking and asking. We both came away from these sweet times together with strengthened faith and with a renewed perspective that we could face whatever motherhood and life threw our way. Jesus showed up big time. It felt like my strength was renewed every time we got off the phone together. What an incredible way to experience this verse:
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
In the Bible, Titus talks about teaching what is good and pointing one another to Jesus. This guidebook assisted us in taking intentional steps towards deeper intimacy with Jesus and one another. After a lot of practice and grace, I now feel comfortable praying out loud and in front of people. I continually ask the Holy Spirit to lead my words and use Scripture as a foundational piece to conversing with Him. I cannot wait to share this book with others in anticipation that Jesus will use it as a stepping stone for continued breakthrough in the lives of those who seek to be encouraged, challenged and desiring purposeful friendships in and through shared experiences.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 (ESV)
Jeannine Mitchell was born in California and currently resides in Minnesota with her husband, Josh. They have been married for almost 15 years. They have a 7-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. "God called me to homeschool these little ones this last year. Although I don’t always feel equipped for the challenge, I know that God is in this with us, guiding and meeting our needs on this journey."