The Prayer Life of a Father – How Do You Pray for Your Kids? | Ep. 40
Listen to two fathers who want to know better what your prayer life for our kids and others can be – the power of prayer!
Bio: Roosevelt Leslie, is a graduate of Colorado Christian University with degrees in Sports science and Biblical studies. Married to Elizabeth Leslie from Lima, Peru in which they met at CCU (both from families of pastors in ministry), and have been married for 20 years with two sons Micah and Jordan.
Professionally Roosevelt is a health and wellness teacher and head basketball coach at Mullen High school. Mullen’s core principles are Faith in the presence of God, Respect for all persons, Inclusive Community, Concern for the poor, and the pursuit of Quality Education.
Roosevelt also by trade is a personal trainer, life coach, motivational speaker, and mentor. He enjoys spending his time helping youth non profit organizations in the community locally, nationally, and abroad in the capacities of education, sport, mental health, faith, and economic disparities which build people to become whole rounded individuals.
Show Note Links:
Kep Crabb: Welcome everybody to Relational Spirituality. I’m your host today, Kep Crabb. The podcast of Larger Story where you get to belong, be known, and become who you’re supposed to be. I’m joined today by a good friend of mine. We were having breakfast a week or two ago and after having a really good conversation and talking about a bunch of different things I said, why don’t you join me on a podcast today? So I’m going to introduce a friend of mine, Roosevelt Leslie, who is joining us today. Rose, thanks for joining me today, my man.
Roosevelt Leslie: Oh, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure for sure.
Kep Crabb: When we were chatting a week or two ago, whatever it was, we were having a conversation that I think where it was an iron sharpening iron conversation. I left that breakfast encouraged. One of the things that we were chatting about is some of the stuff you’re doing now to disciple younger kids; you’re a basketball coach, you do some things like that. You work at a local high school here in the Denver area. Tell me what that looks like on a day to day basis with you, bro.
Roosevelt Leslie: Like you said, I’m a coach, I’m a father. I always try to keep the main thing the main thing. What that looks like for me is the health and well being of that young person. How are they doing overall? Going through that checklist tells me how far I can go as far as the other things that are concerned in life, basketball or school. Just a general check in making sure they’re okay. If we can’t go past there, then that’s fine too. But just being a support system. I’m always a support and just a check in in general for our young men. That could look like a lot of different things.
Kep Crabb: You know, it’s really interesting when I hear you talk about that. I just, literally five minutes ago, got off the phone with a really good friend of mine who’s about 10 years younger than me. I was a little bit of a mentor to him when we were younger. We were talking about what it’s like to be a parent now. His kids are growing up. He’s got one in college now and one in high school. And my kids are out of college. You’re in that same stage with a kid getting out of high school and a kid in college and some of that kind of stuff, which is really fun, but we talked about, what does it mean to be a father?
We went into the whole fathering piece and the whole notion, you just said it there, which I think is really neat. You said, I’m available now. It can go a lot of different directions, but you know that with your kids and with these other kids that you’re mentoring, which is a bunch of them.
I know, because you and I talk about it all the time. I think you are just being present, being with them, being there. Talk a little bit about that, bro, because that’s something that I think you do really well, inviting people to know that, I’m here if you need me.
Roosevelt Leslie: Sure. Within all this, the structured stuff that you have as a coach, a father, like you said, being available is very important. Let my guard down from time to time. I think that’s where vulnerability starts the depth of a relationship. And for me, I tell the kids they can ask me anything.
Kep Crabb: Say that again, you said vulnerability is about the depth of the relationship?
Roosevelt Leslie: I think it creates the depth of the relationship. Kids want to tell somebody when they’re struggling. Sometimes there’s not that safe place to do so so they might hold it in and it might come out as anger or it might come out as many different emotions. I think every kid needs a safe place, a trusted adult in their lives, whether that’s a teacher, a coach, a parent.
For me it’s just trying to have pockets of time where I’m talking about stuff other than school, other than basketball, other than real life work. Giving the platform for the kids to talk about what’s on their mind. What’s on their hearts at that current moment? There might be failures that they had, there might be successes. I know my son and his friends in our school had homecoming this past weekend, so today I was just asking him, hey, you going on a date with anyone? Just being open.
Kep Crabb: It seems like too for some of these kids that you’re working with and certainly for your own two boys, you’ve got a real vision for them and what you’d love to see them be and what their potential really could be. You’ve poured into that. I think you’ve done that too with some of these other kids. Something that stands out as I think about your life a little bit, Rose, is that you’ve got guys on your right side who you’re mentoring, you’ve got guys on your left side who you’re being mentored by, so it’s really a two way deal.
I was talking with my friend just a little bit ago, how at some point you realize that you’re going to be on that mentoring side when you’re getting older, you become the old man of the group, and nothing’s wrong with that. I think I’m stepping into that a little bit now as I’m getting a little bit older here, but I still have a couple of older guys that pour into me. They’re 20 years my senior. I get a chance to ask them any question because they’re available. And then I’ve got guys younger than me, like yourself, who hopefully I get a chance to, but it’s amazing, bro, how much you pour into me as well. It’s such a two way street, even that breakfast we had, which is what inspired this podcast today.
I said, I have to have a conversation with you on the podcast. We’ve talked about some things like this. I think we did a webinar a few years ago or something like that. But, to have you talk about relational things and how you can cross generationally disciple and mentor some of these younger people that are in such need of a mentor of someone they can look up to, tell me as you think about your own kids.
One of the things we’re talking about this last quarter. We just got done talking about SoulTalk. I know you’ve read this book, SoulTalk. That kind of gives you some handles on how to have these kinds of conversations, beneath and thinking with a passion, thinking vision as you’re having a conversation and thinking curiously, what makes you tick, asking a lot of questions.
Now we’re moving into the book on prayer, PAPA Prayer. This is what you and I talked about last week at breakfast. How’s your prayer life right now?
Roosevelt Leslie: For me, to be honest, I can’t live without it. For me, that just looks like just a conversation with God when I wake up, when I go to sleep, and pretty much giving them everything that I have. I try not to wake up with any burdens and try not to go to sleep with any burdens. He gets a higher pay grade for me to give that stuff to Him. So I just say it like a conversation, I love it. I’m at a healthy place to just have conversations with God and our creator. I can’t do without it.
Kep Crabb: I sensed that the morning we were chatting and the way you were talking about prayer was very encouraging to me. Because, there’s not like a lot of young guys. It’s a confusing part of people’s lives. The prayer life is sometimes challenging.
What does it mean to have? I know that it’s not always super gratifying and satisfying. But what does it mean to have a relationship with the God of the universe who you’re talking to? I think that’s something that blows my mind that I actually have the Spirit of Jesus in me. It gives me access to the Father in a way that my prayers are actually being heard.
One of the things we talk about in the PAPA Prayer which we’re talking about this last quarter is what does it mean to present yourself in a way that says, I’m being honest where I’m at? I’m not in a good place or like you just said, you’re in a good place. I love hearing that. That’s awesome. And then to attend to where you are and then to purge what’s blocking you from knowing the Father better and then approach God, the Father, as your deepest desire and the doors that seem to open for the Holy Spirit to do His thing and maneuver is just supernatural is the only thing I can think of.
I saw that in your face the other day as we were talking because you were talking about praying for your boys as they’ve got some decisions coming up with colleges and different life decisions. And I asked, how do you pray for your boys nowadays? I can’t remember exactly what you said, but it was profound. Tell me; unpack that a little bit again.
Roosevelt Leslie: I don’t remember the specifics of that conversation. But I go about prayer with myself and my boys first, just presenting where I am with God, thanking Him for who He is, asking Him questions, basically guiding. I use prayer as a roadmap. I pray for wants and needs, but I also talk to God about the hard stuff as well. That way, when I’m not wanting to come to Him, I know that I can because the difficulties of life navigate me towards Him as well.
For my boys specifically just praying for school their relationships that they basically will have the same yearning to talk to God as I do and that God brings through their circumstances in life and daily matters, school, sports, that He will remind them of who He is.
Kep Crabb: Wow. You’re just reminding me of the importance of good fathering. That’s not to diminish the importance of good mothering because I think kids need a good mother and a good father. But you’re leaning into that and you’re actually taking that role on with other people as well because that’s what coaches do. You’ve had coaches. If you can sit now and think, who are the two or three or four guys or people that have influenced your life, that you would say, this person walked with me at a time or this person in his or her life has impacted me in a way that is what you’re trying to do now. Could you think of those kinds of people?
Roosevelt Leslie: Yeah, for me, the people that are life changing, that have been right beside me, like you said earlier, are those people that are mentors. Maybe they weren’t my coaches or teachers, but they were life people that poured into me and asked me tough questions. They held me accountable, even people like yourself, meeting with you for breakfast and talking about our relationship with Christ. People like Brian Ford. Just life mentors. As we’re doing the work, we need to be replenished. Like you said, ask questions of people that know a little bit more than us. We can do the same thing with prayer too, talking to the Lord about this world that He created Himself.
Kep Crabb: As you say that, it makes me think that, it’s all so tied together and I think your time in the scriptures, your time in prayer, are intertwined completely. Your time with community when you have conversations that matter and your time in prayer, those are just intertwined. And so when you make this part of who you are, your prayer life, as you go through life and allow the Lord to work.
The big topic that we’ve been talking about, and Rose you’ve been part of this with me, and everybody who watches this podcast of mine knows that, what does it mean to be a Spirit led individual? A person that says, the Spirit of Jesus Christ in me, I want you to guide my life, help guide my decisions, help guide my relational tensions, help guide who I am as a person who represents Jesus by how I relate to others today. And that’s been the question that’s just been on my mind so much. I know prayer is such a huge part of that. I know Dad wrote this book of PAPA Prayer because he was confused about prayer. He felt his prayer life was oftentimes really weak. You dive into that and you explore and dive into that mystery.
But as you start to disciple these kids and to pray for them and you’re praying for me, what can we pray for you about, man? What are some things that you need prayer about, Rose?
Roosevelt Leslie: I think being a mentor a lot of times, you have a lot of high energy, and sometimes you don’t. I’m always looking for that consistency. You know, open hearts, open minds, the Spirit to prompt us to where those hearts and minds are, because sometimes we can go about our day and miss assignments. That’s a huge prayer; there’s a lot of people at schools and coaches like me who want to have an impact, but when you talk about the Spirit leading us, that’s one huge prayer that the Spirit will lead us to those vulnerable hearts. Kids that want to change course but don’t know how. People like myself, we’re ready. We’re ready to work the fields.
Kep Crabb: Awesome. The work you’re doing, Rose, is just so good. I think you’re bringing a lot of pleasure to the Father as you’re doing that. It’s just fun, man. We’ve got to definitely grab another breakfast soon, my man.
Roosevelt Leslie: For sure.
Kep Crabb: I just really appreciate the time today. I just wanted to chat with you. We have these conversations and I get a chance to have a lot of them, but there’s just a few guys that I really enjoy just sitting and just hashing things out with, and you’re one of them and we’ve done that for a long time now and that’s been fun. And I hope it continues my brother.
Roosevelt Leslie: I appreciate you and the work that you’ve invested in my life and man, I love all your dad’s books. PAPA Prayer is definitely one on my shelf that I pull down from time to time, just to dial into God and seek His presence. So appreciate that.
Kep Crabb: The PAPA Prayer. If you guys don’t have it, get one today at a LargerStory.com. We’ve got plenty of them for you. We’d love to get you one.
Roosevelt Leslie. Thanks for your time today, my man.
Roosevelt Leslie: All right.