“War Room” Mentoring

Regardless of your evaluation of the new Christian film "War Room", Clara and Elizabeth paint a beautiful picture of organic mentoring. Personally, I loved the film, maybe because I'm a friend of the leading lady, but also because it illustrates the power of prayer when we get serious. True, the results in the movie often take longer than a few months–usually years. God could have worked through the husband first, and there are no guarantees.  But I've personally seen and experienced prayer changing hearts and lives, including my own. In addition I also noticed an important subtheme: the power of a natural mentoring relationship initiated and guided by prayer. Consider these two principles.

1) Pray for divine connections

Often as I enter a situation where I'll be meeting new people, whether in my DTS courses or a social gathering, I pray that God will orchestrate divine connections. I pray that he will lead me to a woman that I might encourage and who can, in turn, encourage me. I pray for what we call that "compulsory click" in our new book "Organic Mentoring". Sometimes if it's unexpected, I'll send up a flare prayer, "Lord, you know who is here. If the entwining of our lives would serve your purposes, help us find one another."

God has answered those prayers many times. He's connected me with women who struggle with a critical parent, women who passionately want to learn to develop their gift of teaching, women leaders trying to figure out how to lead in a challenging setting, or women caring for a disabled child (my grandson struggles with multiple learning disabilities). Sometimes it's around a similarity like that; other times its for unknown reasons. We just click.  

We observed the click between Elizabeth (Priscilla Shirer) and Clara (Karen Abercrombie). Their connection began with Clara's prayer at her husband's grave side. She realized she'd failed in their relationship but she prayed to redeem the heartache by passing on what she'd learned. She asked the Lord to help her invest in a woman who still had time to work on her marriage.

Clara's prayer was answered when God brought Elizabeth into her life as a part time real estate agent. From an initial conversation, Clara discerned that Elizabeth carried deep pain under her professional demeanor. Through bold but loving interchange, Clara offered a hand of hope to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth chose to grasp it. God also helps us know what to say and do in these situations, if we ask him. God initiates and orchestrates matches and he often does far better than we could ever do through  artificial means. Everyone of us should constantly be asking God for divine connections–women we can help and women who can help us. These natural connections enrich all our lives. He's the perfectly capable divine matchmaker. Let it begin in your war room.

2) Focus on her spiritual situation

After we sense God's click, how should we spend our time together? In the past, possibly when we weren't living in post-Christian times, mentors often took their mentees through a formal discipleship curriculum. And certainly this comes with benefits. But my coauthor Barbara noticed an interesting phenomenon when she was teaching several young women a Bible study. Sometimes one of the young women would ask Barbara to meet outside the Bible study for coffee to talk about an issue in her life. That "coffee time" turned out to be the most impactful, and when Barbara interviewed other young women for her doctoral dissertation, they told her the same thing.

Life today for most young women is hard, confusing, and quite different than when older women were their age. More young women are on anxiety medication today than ever before. They are ravenous for a more experienced woman to listen to their lives and help them decide on various options that are congruent with God's Word and ways.  But that older woman must be transparent, trust-worthy, and exhibit God's love, before her mentee can hear correction or admonishment. 

Watch "War Room" for examples of healthy interaction between two women whose lives were changed by organic mentoring.  It's simply the way God expects all of us to live. And if we do, we will do our part in healing and growing God's Kingdom on the earth. It begins in the War Room. It's sustained in the War Room. And my heart echoes the words of Clara as the film closes: Raise them up, Lord, Raise them up.


Dr. Edwards is Assistant Professor of Christian Education (Specialization: Women's Studies) at Dallas Theological Seminary and holds degrees from Trinity University, DTS, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is the author of New Doors in Ministry to Women, A Fresh Model for Transforming Your Church, Campus, or Mission Field and Women's Retreats, A Creative Planning Guide. She has 30 years experience in Bible teaching, directing women's ministry, retreat and conference speaking, training teams and teachers, and writing curriculum. Married to David for 34 years, she especially enjoys extended family gatherings and romping with her four grandchildren.