Yesterday I had an uplifting conversation with a Pentecostal pastor who is assisting with congregations on the West Coast. He was extremely considerate and accepting, and never once tried to tell me that I wasn’t Christian. Just kind and loving. In our conversation, we discussed some of the challenges of being a minister (he knew I had been an LDS bishop) and the difficulty of counseling people through all the challenges of life, especially when we face complex problems with inadequate training and experience. He offered some advice that I think would be great for LDS bishops and anyone offering spiritual counsel to others.
He said that when someone schedules time to come in and talk with him about their problems, he asks them to schedule an equal amount of time for personal prayer before coming in to talk. If it’s a 45-minute appointment, they will be asked to spend 45 minutes with the Lord seeking His guidance on the challenges they face. Then when they come in to talk, he asks if they kept their commitment and then asks what they learned and felt in this process. In many cases, they will recognize that they already have their answer and can move on.
We teach people all the time to pray for help, but sometimes it may just seem like empty words. If we can get people to actually get on their knees and take their issues to the Lord in earnest prayer, not just for 5 minutes, but long enough to really counsel with the Lord, we might be able to let the people really grow in their journey with God.
How refreshing to find a man who teaches his people the power of prayer and personal revelation. That’s advice for all of us.