Heritage Post: Jesse McElreath & Effective Praying for Others

Jesse McElreathWhen I was a young man and very young Christ-follower, I was blessed to be mentored by one of the elders of our church, Jesse McElreath.

During the time I knew him, Jesse’s teaching, both public and private, was extremely practical and down-to-earth.

No pie-in-the-sky with Jesse.

And he had this really cool way of putting everything into outlines. Action steps. Principles. Subject areas.

The way he taught didn’t just ring with relevant truth, but with genuine practical application. And it had a profound effect on everyone he taught.

One day he taught us some specific ways to pray for friends. We’d all been wondering how, exactly, we should best pray for people. What we should pray for. What our objectives should be.

This, word for word, is the answer Jesse gave us.

Later, when I learned how to pray scripture, this outline and these verses provided a powerful foundation for personal intercession.

(I can’t help but wonder, as I type this out and hyperlink the references, how Jesse would have utilized the internet and blogging if they’d been available to him then!)

To begin with, we should pray for…

1. Their relationship to God

Then we should pray for…

2. Their relationship to family

  • That they might become the person described in Ephesians 5 and 6:

A godly husband. Eph. 5:25-33 (see 1 Pet. 3:7)

A godly wife. Eph. 5:22-24 (see 1 Pet. 3:1-6)

A godly son or daughter. Eph. 6:1-3

A godly parent. Eph. 6:4

A godly employee. Eph. 6:5-8

A godly boss. Eph. 6:9

  • That they might walk in the ways of the Lord. Ps. 78:5-7
  • That they might have quality time with family. Deut. 6:6-10

Finally, we should pray for…

3. Their relationship to ministry


Ever say something stupid to God?

Hand over mouth by Mel B.

[Originally published in my old political blog on December 12, 2008]

I talk to God a lot. Done it for years. First out of loneliness. Sometimes out of fear or frustration. Or confusion. Yes, sometimes I give him advice.


A lot of times I give him advice.

I know there are some among you who don’t believe in God and think anyone who does is an ignorant lunatic. I hope this doesn’t offend you too much. After all, this is primarily a political blog. Then again, it’s also personal. And I am who I am.

Sometimes I don’t realize I’m talking to him until I’m near the end of whatever it is I’m saying. He’s just there. Of course, he’s always “there,” but sometimes I’m going along, doing and thinking, and just realize his presence.

Last night, I was thinking about something kind of exciting—I don’t even remember now what it was—and found myself sharing it with him. I started to say “Can you imagine what would happen if…”

Is that not dumb? “Can you imagine?” to the Architect and Maintainer of the entire universe? The Source of all wisdom?

I’ve said worse, though. I’ve been known to get very angry at him and yell. I have—more than once, I’m afraid—literally shaken my fist toward the sky and screamed unbelievable things at him. And then calmed down. And then felt shame.

And every time.

Every time.

I’ve then felt his comforting presence.

My Plan for Getting Promoted…

Daniel 1:9 (New International Version 1984, ©1984)

9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel…

One thing I have been asking God for some time now is to cause “officials” (my employers and potential employers) to show favor and sympathy to me. I have to do this for two reasons:

  1. This is an imperfect world with imperfect systems inhabited by imperfect supervisors who are likely as not to follow very imperfect standards in promoting and assigning.
  2. I am the perfect example of one of these imperfect people who inhabit this imperfect world—I make mistakes, I sometimes learn things more slowly than is needed, I am getting older and some things are getting harder. So I need God to work in the hearts of the people I work with just as much as I need him to work in my own heart.

I have an idea!

Why don’t we pray for each other? I’ll pray for you that God causes the “officials” in your life to show favor and sympathy to you and you turn around and ask the same for me.

Is that a deal?


Is Your Quiet Time TOO Quiet?

This cartoon came in an email from NavPress. There have been times I could totally identify with it. If you click on it, it will take you to their web site, where you’ll find a good assortment of tools to help in spiritual growth.

By the way, I don’t get paid for sending people there. (Although, if there’s a way…)

George Müller: Answers to Prayer…

When I was still in college, and a very young Christian, it was fellow students (most younger than me) and their mentors who gave me my first lessons in the Christ Life and biblical community. These young people were serious about their faith and how they lived out their faith and—like those who mentored them—looked to the heroes and classic books of the past. I have been blessed in reading and re-reading these great books—and other classics I’ve discovered over time—ever since. I’m old enough now to have lived through many generations of how-to books and so forth, some of which have been helpful even decades after they were published. None of them has eclipsed the old books.

One of these old books, long out of print, is Answers to Prayer, by George Müller, one of the great heroes of 19th Century church history. Over many years this man asked for and received millions of dollars to care for orphans and support missionaries around the world. But he didn’t ask people for these millions—he asked God alone. Here’s his secret:

“I never remember, in all my Christian course, a period now (in March, 1895) of sixty-nine years and four months, that I ever SINCERELY and PATIENTLY sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations ofthe Word of the living God, I made great mistakes.”


It’s funny. This week I’ve been focusing on one of my foundation verses, trying to understand better God’s will for my family and me. What would happen if I really grasped the implications of these verses the way Mr. Müller seemed to?

Proverbs 3:5-7 (New International Version 1984, ©1984)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

Blessings to you and those you care for during the holidays. May God speak to you—and may you listen!

Nine Suggestions When Offering Advice to God

packed lunch

Luke 9:12-13 (New International Version 1984)

12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.”

Parallel passages (plus context):

So many angles to this

Continue reading

What if…?

Matthew 10:7-8 (New International Version © 2010)

7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

If this is true and if we did this—what would happen to all our discussions of healthcare?

The other day on Facebook, someone posted a quip that Jesus gave away healthcare. He didn’t. He gave away healing.

What if we could too? What if we did too?