1 – Prayer
The first thing you must do before anything else in this job is to hit the floor on your knees. James was known by the nickname of “old camel knees” and rightly so, for he did nothing outside of the will of Christ Jesus – our God. With calloused knees he petitioned the Father as he sought unselfish wisdom on how to encourage the small congregations of Christians already scattered in and out of Jerusalem. Nothing mattered more to James than the ongoing, open line of communication with God.
Every single morning we set aside a pocket of time to pray for mentors, new ex-Mormons and others we come into contact with. The mentors and their families need prayer coverage just as much as the ex-Mormon and their families do and we want for all of you to know just how much we care for all of you, no matter what side of the teacher’s desk you’re sitting at.
Persecution of the body of Christ obviously varies in many degrees depending on the circumstances surrounding those being persecuted. It is to be expected and understood that while mentoring this dear person in their new life they will most likely be facing some sort of turmoil from those within the community of the Church. Don’t underestimate the real fear inside their hearts and minds whether the threat is real or implied; it is alive in their world. The key to overcoming the oppression of persecution is done through reading His word and prayer. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says;
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
The Lord knows exactly what we need and cares deeply about the pain in their heart; never stop encouraging them to turn to Him. Remind them daily that He already won! Jesus told the disciples in John 16:33 to fear not because He has overcome the world. The real “war” is over with – Jesus has been raised from the grave and isn’t lying in the ground like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are!
We’re part of the winning team – at last! Let’s take heart and give thanks that the God we worship is Sovereign!
Even the most benign of questions the ex-Mormon may ask is fully loaded with meanings you wouldn’t have thought of before…in other words be prepared; and the only way to go about this is through prayer!
Your prayer life will enable the person you’re mentoring to learn things they’d never thought of before, as well as being the example they so desperately need in their lives.
Also be prepared for spiritual warfare, it’ll be more than happy to make its appearance. Above all, know the Lord will richly bless you dear one and you’ll find also that your own walk with the Lord will grow in miraculous ways. Nothing ever comes into our lives without God’s approval. A good verse to memorize is Acts 5:41; “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”
It is impossible to have a relationship with God if you do not have a regular schedule of being in your Bible each day and if you do not pray.
It doesn’t matter how much you volunteer, clean your house or how many pounds of food you give away to the homeless shelter or what you’ve done for the Relief Society or Priesthood meetings. Your relationship with Jesus cannot grow if you don’t spiritually grow. If you don’t read and study, you cannot grow.
Jesus is always right there waiting patiently for us to come to Him in our distress, maladies, and our greatest physical diseases that take over our bodies. He wants nothing but to love us and put His everlasting arms around us!
Expect more from the ex-Mormon that you’re mentoring than you originally had planned for him/her. If you expect more there’s a good chance they will see fit to expect more of themselves as well. Remember they have never experienced real Christianity so you have a clean slate with which to work!
Schedule a time every week to go through the lessons to pray, study and just to share with each other every week. Having a set routine will give focus to the events of life with a tangible goal that is achievable.
I’m not trying to imply that I did everything perfectly when I got out of the Church. I had two daughters; ages five months and 26 months. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t always convenient to sit down and discipline myself to do my daily studies. My youngest daughter had to be taken to Children’s Hospital every other week for the cleft lip and palate she was born with. I took what time I could get; a half hour here and twenty minutes there each day and my relationship with Jesus was very intense.
It was also the time that I lost everyone and everything (monetarily speaking) because of the exodus from my heritage. People from both sides of the clan denounced me; people called with death threats and summarily wrote me off. For the average Mormon this will be one of the most traumatic events they will ever live through. They must see the connection between Bible study, prayer and the way they deal with their situation they are living through. The level of animosity from their loved ones will vary as well. There’s simply no hard and fast rule as to how this goes.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see someone with their arms tightly folded? This visual will give you a good idea of how the Mormon goes to the Lord in prayer. The Mormon has never been taught that prayer is a way of communication with God to enrich and strengthen their personal walk with Him. Prayer in Mormonism is regarded as a necessary work only. It is not used to build upon their relationship with Jesus; therefore they are not to “interrupt God with idle chatter”.
Their lives have been filled with set rules and regulations that have kept their minds focused on them and away from the One True Lord. Their experience of praying is to always fold their arms during prayer. It is considered to be highly irreverent if they pray in any other way. There is to be no speaking at all by anyone else in the room while someone is praying and they must only pray in 1611 English.
The only time anyone touches another person during prayer is when one of the members of the bishopric are laying hands on someone’s head to “receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” after baptism; during their temple endowments or when they receive their patriarchal blessing.
Your job is to show them how they are cultivating their relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ by communicating with them through prayer. Mormons are to follow a certain pattern for praying. To understand what they know as truth I’ve listed a couple specific examples they have been taught to follow:
“Jesus used simple, expressive language in his prayers, avoiding vain repetition and flowery phrases…” (1)
“In praising God, in offering thanks, in asking for needs-remembering to pray that God’s will be done-language is to be reverent, humble, and sincere. President Spencer W. Kimball commented, “In all our prayers, it is well to use the pronouns thee, thou, thy, and thine instead of you, your, and yours inasmuch as they have come to indicate respect” (p. 201). Unnecessary repetition of God’s name is avoided, as are idle clichés. Prayers close by stating that the prayer is offered in the name of Jesus Christ, concluding with amen.”” (2)
You will want to introduce the Mormon to the idea that a Christian can also pray over the phone with another Christian. This is usually a very startling discovery for the Mormon, but rest assured they will adjust to their new life and grow to be comfortable with it just as you are. Use prayer as the powerful tool that it is! Share with them how prayer has changed your life and how you’ve seen it change the lives of others.
Jesus gave us the example in scripture of the son who goes to the father. Luke 11:9-13 says;
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
This example shows us that we can go to Abba for anything and without shame. Show them with Biblical proof how many times Jesus prayed. Share with them the favorite place that Jesus liked to pray. Do you know? If you’re not aware of where His favorite place to pray is located, then it’s time to learn something new!
You might have to show them how to hold hands during prayer, how to raise your hands to the Lord in prayer or any other way that you personally pray. Discourage them from keeping their arms folded by reminding them they have become a new creature in Christ, the old is gone away – 2 Cor. 5:17;
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
You may witness a bit of hesitancy on the part of the ex-Mormon during this time. If you’ve never been a Mormon it may be difficult to understand, so all I can say is that you must be patient with this. If an uncaring spirit is all they see then the foundation of their future prayer life could very well be negatively impacted. There’s no need to force anything to happen.
The Holy Spirit who now resides inside of them is the one who does the prompting, not us. While God can heal anything inside of their hearts and minds; there is no reason to add to the animosity and fear they may still be experiencing. Here are a couple of verses to use as examples for how the Holy Spirit works.
Acts 8:29; “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”
Hebrews 4:16; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
We can teach and lead by example to introduce the culture of Christianity, but all that means nothing if what they learn is that prayer and worship is a performance based experience. We don’t have to perform for God. If this was truth then which one of Jesus’ arms are you going to take the nail out of; or which drop of blood wasn’t enough?
Mormons receive “patriarchal blessings” for two reasons; they’re either sick or they’ve received an assignment from God for a new position they must fulfill. This comes from the bishop via a “revelation from God”.
You’ll want to show them through prayer how we ask God to show us His will for our lives and explain how God will manifest His will to them through a variety of ways. One of the other times they “receive a patriarchal blessing” as I said before is through sickness. If you’re comfortable with blessing them with Holy oil or water by all means, do so!
Also show them how they can do this for others and even their own homes. Walk through their homes with them and go into each room of their house or even your house. Place a finger wet with oil or water on the walls and draw a cross while praying for God to bless and protect the room. After each room of the house is done then take them outside to sprinkle the perimeters of their property while praying for protection and use scripture during the prayer.
These steps are all powerful ways to show the Mormon how they can take control of their own spiritual lives instead of it being ruled by the “authority” of the Church.
Remind them that relationships are cultivated through an open line of communication. To be comfortable with God they need to learn it’s okay for them to go to Him when they’re confused, angry and tired. Isaiah 30:15;
“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…”
God already knows each detail of anguish and desires for you/them to come to Him. Teach them that it’s really okay to pray to Jesus as well. They’ve only been taught that He is their elder brother and it is frowned upon to have a personal relationship with Him, let alone worship Him. (3)
If you’re a Mormon and have never heard that you can go to Jesus anytime and anywhere, allow me to be the first one to give you the good news!
If no other message gets through this study let this be the one thing you remember and claim for yourself. Jesus loves you so much and wants nothing but for you to know Him. He’s already aware of your darkest sin and your worst thoughts. He knows your heart and is intimately aware of how clean your house or briefcase is right this moment.
Let me tell you from personal experience the only thing He cares about is that you spend eternity with Him. The dishes and next phone call can wait; your relationship with Him cannot.
1-(Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1118.)
2-(Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1118.)
3- “We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost. I know perfectly well what the scriptures say about worshipping Christ and Jehovah, but they are speaking in an entirely different sense–the sense of standing in awe and being reverentially grateful to him who has redeemed us. Worship in the true and saving sense is reserved for God the first, the Creator.” – Speech given by Bruce R. McConkie at BYU, March 2, 1982
Lesson Plan for Chapter One
1 – Why is prayer with scripture important? Read Luke 11:1-10 and answer below.
2 – Where was Jesus’ favorite place to pray? How many times did He go there? Give scriptural proof of your answer. (Hint: Read John 18:1-2 and then find name of place in concordance)
3 – What spiritual consequences could there be if we are not in His word on a daily basis? Be specific, use scriptural proof.
4 – How much time each week should be spent in His word? Are there any set rules?
5 – Give five reasons why we go to the Lord in prayer.
6 – Give five more reasons why we go to the Lord in prayer.
(This time use personal reasons why – the kids are sick, they’re going through a rough time because of shunning, spouse is unemployed, private doubt of salvation, etc.)
7 – Who intercedes for us in prayer? Be specific, use scriptural proof of your answers. Use a lexicon and/or concordance to find the word intercedes for your answer. You should have at least three examples to share. Why do we need intercessors?
8 – Has the ex-Mormon been made aware of the prayer chain in your church or theirs? Do they know how to utilize this blessing? List the names and phone numbers here for them to call and explain how they work at the typical Christian church.
9 – Where in the ex-Mormon’s home was Holy oil/water used? Do they understand why this was done?
10 – Give two or three examples from scripture when holy water or oil was used. Be sure to write down your proof. (Remind them you’re not operating and doing these things based upon the gospel of “your name here”, but because this is what the Lord said in His word!)
11 – How many times in the gospels did Jesus pray? Give at least two examples from each gospel.
© 2010 Life After Ministries, Inc.