When our children were born, actually even before they were born, we began to pray for them daily (sometimes it was multiple times a day, especially if they were not having a good day). We prayed many things for them, but the main thing was that they would come to know Christ at an early age, never experiencing a time of rebellion or walking away from Him, and that they would serve Him with their whole heart in whatever calling He would have for them. As we got to know them and their personality / temperament, we were also able to add specific prayer requests related to their character needs.
The lists grew longer as time passed and I began to re-think what I was praying for each of the kids. What was it that was really important for me to pray into their life? What were the essentials that would see them through life’s trials and challenges? After much thought and reflection, I boiled it down to just four things that were needed. Yes, there were (are) still other things that I prayed (and still pray) for each of them, but these four things are the foundation stones that I (we) have prayed into their lives for many years. Now, these four qualities have also become core qualities for myself as a leader and for other emerging leaders that I coach. I remember them with the acronym, “PEWC” (rhymes with ‘hurl’). 🙂
“P” stands for Purity of Life. Many have made shipwrecks of their lives by failing in this area. Certainly the challenges of moral purity are greater today than when I was younger. For young men in particular, with the pervasiveness of pornography on the Internet and other media, sexual purity is a growing challenge. But, purity of life is more than just sexual holiness.
Purity relates to our heart and what grips it. It means we are wholly devoted to one Master. It relates to integrity, being a person of our word who can be counted on to do what we say. It means we are transparent in our life, not playing games with our relationships or wearing masks that hide who we truly are. What you see is what you get.
“E” stands for Eternal Values. There is much pressure, especially in the American culture, to become a massive consumer and accumulate all we can. The mantra seems to be, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” While I’m not one who would feel guilty for being born and now living in a prosperous culture, I do have a sense of stewardship of whatever resources God places under my care. We already have much compared to others. And, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Having eternal values ultimately means that we are living for a world to come, not this present one. These values direct our daily choices, lifestyles, spending, consuming, giving, investing, etc. Our lives are lived in the context of eternity, knowing that we will have to give an account one day of what we did with the resources God entrusted to us. Our lives are lived out knowing that 70 years will come and go quickly, and we are but a vapor that soon disappears. And when we exit this planet, we will leave all we have accumulated to others, taking nothing with us.
“W” stands for Wisdom. Here is the secret to much of the challenge of parenting and leading. God entrusts children and people to us without an instruction manual on how to raise or lead them. Yes, we have the Bible with great principles (Proverbs is especially helpful) and we have our own upbringing (which can have it’s strengths and weaknesses). What our children and those we lead need is “instant” wisdom that enables them to make wise choices that honor God.
When our children were young and disobedient we would correct them. One of the statements that we would say again and again was, “That was not a wise thing to do.” Or when we would talk about a decision or someone’s decision and the consequences, we would point out wise choices and not so wise ones, labeling it as such. The point was to reinforce in many ways that a goal in life was to become wise. To obey God and your parents was a wise thing for them as a child and brought reward. But, to disobey God and your parents was an unwise (foolish) thing and it brought punishment and pain. Ouch!
“C” stands for Courage. If our children and we as leaders are to apply the above three things, Purity, Eternal Values, and Wisdom, then that would mean that we would not be following the norms of the day. We would be swimming against that cultural tide and standing out as different from the crowd. There would be much pressure brought to bear on us to conform to the norms of the day, especially by our friends and peers. Knowing this pressure, it will take great courage to stand for what is pure, eternal, and wise in God’s eyes, and not simply go along with the crowd and do what’s easy, instead of what’s right.
Courage, moral backbone, to say and do what’s right is never easy. Sometimes there are real consequences for standing up for right. Some have even had to pay with their lives for this kind of stand. I pray that we would never have to make that kind of choice, but should it come, may we have the courage to stand, knowing that eternity waits.
These four areas have formed that foundation of what I (we) have prayed for our children since they were very young. I have also made them a foundation of qualities that I have prayed for myself as a leader. I’m pleased to say that we have seen these areas demonstrated in our children’s lives over and over again. God has been and continues to be faithful to build these things into my life as well as theirs. And now there is the next generation—our grandchildren. They too are now coming under this prayer covering of PEWC.
But for myself and those emerging leaders who I coach and mentor these core qualities are also the foundation of my prayers. I pray that we will grow and mature as leaders who demonstrate these qualities in our personal lives, families, and leadership. For if we do, we will be change agents who the Lord will use to bring hope and help to many.