A couple of months into our church’s shepherding initiative, it’s hard for me to get a beat on what people think so far, most likely due to the fact that for the one leadership meeting we’ve had since we kicked it off, I was so late that I completely missed our extended prayer time for all the prayer requests we had gathered in the previous month. But from my limited perspective, it seems like things are off to a good start: people have liked being reached out to, they share their prayer requests freely and gratefully, and I have enjoyed praying for these things and looping back to see how things are going.
Since these prayer requests are somewhat private in nature, I’m not going to blab about what is being shared and prayed for. But I did want to mention one request in particular, and will do so in a very generic way so as not to betray any traceable information. One person asked me to pray that they would not be so double-minded. It’s not a common phrase, so it made me pause to think. Christians may be familiar with the phrase, perhaps from its use in the first chapter of the book of James in the New Testament:
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).
It struck me that this was a request that spoke of the requester’s earnest desire to be singularly focused on God’s will for their life. It is not a common or celebrated wish in our society. You do not often hear of people striving to not be double-minded. Perhaps the closest you get is when fans complain about an athlete whose off-field distractions prevent him from focusing on individual or team achievements. Or you think of people whose singular pursuits are looked upon with disdain: the workaholic whose greedy pursuit of success or material gain causes marital strife or abandoned kids, not to mention jilted investors or ruined companies.
I am yet again reminded of how alien the authentic and earnest pursuit of Christian discipleship is in our contemporary culture, in which double-mindedness reigns and singular pursuits are viewed with suspicion or scorn. And so I appreciate this person’s desire to be rid of double-mindedness. For it is a Biblical desire, and it will lead to good, and it is courageous to pursue it today. And so I will pray that for this person. And I will pray it for myself, as well.