Practical Responses to the Most Common Requests from Young Seminarians: How to Pray, Balance Life, and Budget

Last week, I posted a blog on “Most Common Requests from Young Seminarians.” A faithful reader asked if I would write a post giving responses to each of the requests, so I’ve done so here for the first three requests. I will offer suggestions for the final ones over the next two days. My goal is to provide ideas for all church leaders—not only young seminarians.

  1. Request: “Teach me to pray.” This generation wants to pray, but they don’t know how. Possible responses include:
    • Build regular reading about spiritual disciplines into your reading plan. Some possibilities are Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life; Elliff, A Passion for Prayer; Miller, A Praying Life, Bounds, Pastor and Prayer.
    • Have lunch with someone who impresses you as a prayer warrior, and find out how that believer learned to pray. Learn his or her strategies for prayer.
    • Find 10-minute segments each day to pray (see this post for ideas). Don’t worry about starting with an hour of prayer every morning.
    • In your quiet time over the next few weeks, read through the books of Luke and the book of Acts. Record each time the writings mention prayer. When you see how Jesus and the early church prayed, you’ll want to pray more.
    • Start by praying the daily prayers that my pastoral hero, Tom Elliff, prays. Here’s the link to his prayers.
  1. “Help me know how to balance my responsibilities.” These students want to learn how to live in a healthy balance. Possible responses might be:
    • Do an inventory of your life, looking at your spiritual life, your relationships, your physical care (exercise, sleep, and check-ups), your finances, and your professional life. Check out the book, Simple Life, by my friends, Thom and Art Rainer.  
    • Use a calendar (I’m amazed by the number of young leaders who don’t), and intentionally block off down time each week. You won’t get it if you don’t schedule it.
    • Don’t add anything to your calendar without first talking to your spouse. Our spouses know better than we do when we’re overstretched.
    • Take your day off each week, and schedule your vacations. There’s nothing spiritual about workaholism (and, here’s my own confession about this struggle).
    • Learn some simple time management strategies. I don’t claim to be an expert here, but here are some strategies that work for me.
  1. “Would you work with me to develop a budget?” Many in this generation have had no one teach them about finances. Here are some potential responses: 

Readers, help all of us today—what other suggestions would you add?

1 Comment

  • Seth Whipple says:

    Dr. Warnock, graduate from both Southwestern and Southern seminaries wrote a helpful book called The Complete Seminary Survival Guide: Start Smart | Avoid Burnout | Finish Strong. This is a thorough book about the many things that must be navigated to make the most of this important training time. There is also an audio version. I would highly recommend this as an important resource.

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