“Raise up” the partners you need

“How do I find a counselor who follows these teachings?”

Many of you write to us because you want to find a counselor to foster God’s work in your soul. Some have read Leanne Payne’s books and want to find personal guidance to apply the principles she’s teaching. Some had a breakthrough at an MPC event, but you need help to walk it out in daily life. You are wise in recognizing that you’re meant to share your journey with others!

Most of us will discover needs in our souls that we aren’t able to work through on our own, and God doesn’t ask that of us. Good pastoral care, professional counseling, health care, recovery programs, spiritual direction, and prayer partnerships are key supports to those in steady pursuit of Christian maturity. 

These partners are important, but not necessarily easy to find. The good news is that we can collaborate with Christ as He forms His Body – “raising them up” as Leanne Payne would say. Even better, this moral effort on our part contributes to our healing and maturity. Here’s our best advice on how to seek, knock, and raise up others to become companions on the pilgrim journey. 

  1.  Pray!  Persistently and eagerly ask God to provide the partners you need, knowing He is able to create what you are unable to imagine. “Those of us who have these ‘life-support’ systems are deeply grateful for them, but those who do not must pray earnestly for them. All through the years when God would move me from one locale to another, the first thing I besought God for was trusted prayer partners.”[1] If you have a loved one who will pray for you, ask them to join you in this petition. 
  2. Connect. Ask around to find those in your community who are known to be wise and trustworthy. Your pastor, physician, mentors, and Christian friends are likely to know excellent Christian counselors and other helpers in your area. Asking for recommendations also lets these important people in your life know that you are actively pursuing wholeness in Christ. You can check if there is a Living Waters program in your town. Pastors whose churches who host programs such as Celebrate Recovery or Stephens Ministry will also be able to recommend good local resources. 
  3. Interview. When you find someone you’re considering working with, ask to talk with them about your goals so that the two of you can see if there’s a good fit.  As you tell them what issues you want to work on, notice how it feels to begin opening up. Can you imagine yourself coming to trust this person enough to work vulnerably together? Notice what kind of questions or responses they offer. Ask if he or she thinks that the concerns you’re describing are something he or she feels confident in working with. Practice God’s presence before, during, and after this interview, listening for any guidance He gives.
  4. Influence. Once you’ve gotten a sense that you could build a good relationship, tell them that there’s a specific author and ministry that you find helpful. Explain that you don’t need them to already be an expert in Leanne’s work, and ask if he or she would be open to learning along with you. There may be a particular theme you know is important to you―confession of sin, introspection, balancing masculine and feminine, etc. If you’re working with a professional counselor, you can also ask if they are comfortable including prayer in your counseling sessions. 
  5. Dialog. Once you’ve started a pastoral care process, you come to the most important part of this effort: it is essential to continue to have honest dialog with them about how you’re experiencing your work together. Open discussion about your discomforts, doubts, desires, and anxieties is a key element of good pastoral care, perhaps most of all in regard to your relationship with Christ and how they are joining you in that relationship. By engaging in this way, you will grow and heal tremendously. I believe this process of iron sharpening iron in the work of pastoral care yields even more than if one could find a helper who perfectly understood and ministered at every moment. Pray with your partner for your relationship, and include them in your intercessory prayers during your daily time of listening prayer.

These same principles apply to other relationships that facilitate our maturing in Christ―prayer partners, small groups, and prayer ministry programs at church. Praise God that He engages us in the process of “raising up” the fellow pilgrims we need in this awesome journey of following Christ!

“I often had to train Christians in prayer, but God always sent them, maybe only one for a while. Then another or so would be added. My prayer partners are among my greatest spiritual treasures.” [2]

[1] Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1991), 185.

[2] Ibid.