Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB
As a Christian Life Coach, I open each session with prayer. As a Christ follower, I want the Holy Spirit to do his best work in the time I have with my client. This habit can easily become just a check mark on my to-do list for each session. So how do I keep prayer as my lifeline and not merely a session opening tool?
The answer starts with my personal prayer life, which has taken on a whole new level of importance and growth in the past few years. During this time, I felt compelled to read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) four times in one year. As I read about the life of Jesus, I see how important prayer was to him. It was so important that he went to the desert for forty days to fast and pray as recorded in Matthew 4:1-11. He got up early in the morning and, according to Mark 1:35, went to a scheduled, quiet place to be alone with his Father and pray. The disciples saw the importance Jesus placed on prayer and asked for prayer instruction in Luke 11:1. Seeing the importance Jesus placed on prayer and knowing my own spiritual neediness, I committed to being more like him in this regard.
During this time I had an opportunity to take part in the Cornerstone Formation Ministries training program taught by Dr. Terry Wardle. It was entitled the “Ministry of Formational Prayer.” In this training we were taught to pray expectantly, understanding God will answer if we give him a chance.
The Bible is clear in James 4:2, ESV: “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Learning to pray expectantly transformed my spiritual and personal life. Since I’ve begun to do this, I have witnessed firsthand how God the Father communicates through prayer to one client after another on a variety of issues.
If I am in a session and I sense my client is struggling or we seem to hit a wall, I may take a minute silently to ask God for insight. I may also ask the client to ask God for an answer, and we will take a minute together in prayer, asking for an immediate answer. Many times he does. At other times, as a homework assignment, I request that clients ask God for clear direction for the next week.
These prayers can change how clients view God. I had one client change from not wanting to burden God with her problems because “He has so much to take care of already” to understanding “God does really care about my everyday life.” She now asks God about every decision. She does not want to make any changes without praying first, because she has seen what prayer can do!
Coaching the Coach Tip:
Because of the transformation of my personal prayer life, I now incorporate prayer in each coaching session. Wow! What a difference it has made. I no longer worry that I won’t have enough tools in my tool belt to help each client in their specific area of need. The Holy Spirit prompts me throughout the session (because I am in constant prayer) with ideas and options. The Holy Spirit will give my client and me the answers we need if we give him the chance. Does this mean I don’t do my homework as a coach? May it never be! I still read every day and research resources. As I pray for my clients I now ask God through prayer, to show me what my clients may need before I meet with them. So many times God does just that.
Denise Baumann has been married for more than 30 years and has four children including one with special needs. Denise has been a life coach for over 3 years and is a member of AACC and ICCA. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has a plan for our lives and I love helping my clients discover and add clarity to the plan God has for them. To contact Denise e-mail her firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her website at www.denisebaumann.com.
Georgia Shaffer, M.A., is a professional speaker, certified Life Coach and the author of four books including Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches. She is is a regular columnist for Christian Coaching Today and a board member of the International Christian Coaches Association (ICCA). Georgia is on the teaching team of AACC’s Professional Life Coaching Training. She specializes in coaching coaches, women and communicators To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.