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Jump-Starting Your Spiritual Life


If you have a spiritually indifferent older child or adult, here’s an idea for Mother’s Day.

When I found out I had lymphoma cancer 35 years ago, my world and my worldview fell apart. I’d gone to church and Christian schools all my life. As I said in the Introduction of my book, The 10 Second Rule;

Up until age thirty-one, I was your standard-issue Christian–the kind the Christian schools and churches in our conservative little town pounded out year after year like spiritual Model Ts–mostly in one color: beige. We were covenant children. We figured we came with a cradle-to-grave salvational warranty.

And in the midsixties, high school seniors in my church were expected to make a public profession of their faith unless they were atheists or Democrats. I was neither. But I had no fire in my belly for God. Nevertheless, that June I became an official Christian. It was one of the worst mistakes of my life. In my mind I had my get-out-of-hell-free card. I just needed to keep loving God (whatever that meant), love others, attend church regularly, serve, give, keep a lid on the public sin in my life, and pray. I’d grown up in the church; I knew what was expected, and I did it. One more beige Christian parked in the pews waiting for my weekly fill-up.

So, when the doctor told me I had 5-9 years to live, my beige faith was no comfort at all! So I went to a pastor friend of mine for advice. I told him I felt “stuck” spiritually, but had no idea how to get more God in my life. And here it was his advice; A Dangerous Prayer “Clare, I’d like you to read the Book of Luke, a chapter a day for the next month and then come back and tell me what you learned.” But before you begin to read each day, pray this prayer;”

“Dear God, today as I read, please teach me everything you want me to know and give me the courage to obey what you’re telling me.”

So I began reading every day, using that prayer and God used it to change the course of my life. It only took me a few weeks to come to the conclusion I was a religious Christian at best – or spiritually lost, at worst.

My problem, and perhaps yours, or someone you care about deeply, is not generally the lack of information. I didn’t lack belief – at some level I believed everything God taught in the Bible was true.

What I actually lacked was faith. My definition of faith is this “courageous obedience to the teachings of the Bible.” And as I began taking some baby steps of faith, doing what Jesus said to do, he slowly transformed my life. Making those two requests of God, in that simple prayer, proved dangerous to my beige, religious Christianity. And it will be to yours as well.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

A Mother’s Day request So if you have a child heading off to college or an adult child who is indifferent to God, consider asking them for this present on Mother’s Day, coming up soon.

“My dearest child, one of the greatest gifts you could give me this year for Mother’s Day is this. Over the next month, please read the Book of Luke, a chapter a day. But before you do, each day, please offer this prayer, “God today teach me everything you want me to know, and give me the courage to obey.”

“Obviously I’m praying that as God teaches you, and you respond in simple obedience, that you re-discover God’s love for you.”

Love, Mom

Please don’t make this request in front of the family, so they feel shamed into saying, “yes.” Write them a note, or pull them aside privately. But before you do, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to prepare their heart, both to receive your request and soften their heart for God.

Ironically, it may just be the best gift you’ll ever give your child on Mother’s Day.

How following Jesus works in real life.

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