Glory Story: Paul and Timothy
Minnesota NDP team blends skill and maturity
Mentorship and discipleship go hand in hand. We see this play out in scripture, from Elijah and Elisha to Paul and Timothy.
Spiritual mentorship is reflected in Sharon Auldrich, the Minnesota state coordinator, and Natalie Smetak, a new member of the state NDP team who helps with all things technology and adds her tender heart for prayer over Minnesota.
Sharon’s involvement with National Day of Prayer began in 1985, and her decades of intercession and prayerful connections throughout her state make her a mighty leader in the NDP family of volunteers. However, no one, even the best leaders, can do it all on their own.
In 2019, Sharon needed help utilizing social media in order to rally prayer warriors. She prayed for someone to step into that role, and God answered through a mutual friend in another prayer ministry, who introduced Sharon and Natalie. The two women instantly connected, and Natalie joined the team under Sharon’s leadership.
“Her support came at an important time,” Sharon said. “I don’t really like social media, but Natalie is always receptive to my ideas as we work on how to incorporate scripture.”
Natalie did not expect to get involved with National Day of Prayer, but when she met Sharon, the Lord had been pulling her into a deeper prayer life and Natalie knew God’s hand was over the meeting.
“I’ve been so encouraged, seeing what the prayer movement is doing in Minnesota,” Natalie said.
The two women combine their talents and wisdom to create a full experience for believers in the Minnesota prayer networks. Natalie, a younger woman, applies her knowledge of social media to encourage, inform and prompt fellow intercessors. Sharon, with her decades of efforts in interceding for leaders, has taken intentional time to share the connections that she has cultivated throughout the state.
It’s been a year of introductions,” Natalie said. “With my background in journalism, I had connections to public leaders, and now Sharon is teaching me how to get there through creating connections for prayer.”
Part of their success as a team is that they both work in extemporaneous bursts. Natalie thrives in a free and unstructured environment. In the same vein, Sharon is known to get an idea, pray about it, then immediately start running forward once God confirms the next step. They lean on and learn from one another.
“Natalie follows the Spirit to step out into areas that are uncomfortable, and trust that God will make a way—She sees opportunities I don’t,” Sharon said.
Being a part of the NDP network of volunteers is more than organizing a gathering once a year—it is investing energy to breathe life into of the Body of Christ, the family of believers, and like any other family, we learn from one another.
“Sharon is a lot more bold than she thinks she is,” Natalie said. “Our relationship is a blessing. It’s so important to have someone in your life to be a mentor, a Paul, that you can talk to. She has been down the road before, and she doesn’t judge—just prays.”
When Sharon has a challenge with technology or needs prayer over a decision, she goes to Natalie. When Natalie has a parenting question or feels a burden to intercede for a leader, she goes to Sharon.
“We have a good relationship, a mother and daughter sort of trust,” Sharon said. “I’m grateful for her patience with me, and she brings a richness and variety to our prayer times.”
The Lord ordained Sharon and Natalie’s partnership for such as time as this. Together, through their connections and knowledge, Minnesota NDP hosted a virtual 2020 observance. What a blessing to reach more people with technology while still co-laboring with prayer warriors who saw NDP Task Force grow from infancy!
However, the work must continue, and spiritual mentorship is a key aspect of teaching others to take up the cause of mobilizing unified prayer.
“I’m praying for more people my age to come up in the ranks, one or even two decades above me,” Natalie said. “These generals will need to pass the baton at some point.”
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. -1 Timothy 5:1-2