PRAYER IN DISCIPLE MAKING
If a person is actively making disciple makers, he must keep prayer and God’s Word central in his life.
There are 2 main aspects of prayer that should be active in the life of every disciple-maker: (1) his own intimate relationship with the Lord for the sake of intimacy. (2) His intercessory prayers for those he’s discipling. No amount of teaching or biblical counsel can take the place of consistent prayer for those being discipled. Satan tries to keep us from praying and from making disciples. If he can’t, he tries to shorten our prayer times and distract us while we pray. He wants to discourage us before we prevail in prayer. He would rather we be busy working for God than praying to God.
Everything that is eternal and worthwhile flows out of a personal relationship with the Lord. The inner life is more essential than the outward life, and our private walk with God is more important than our public ministry for God. It is possible to grow cold while serving others. We are called to win souls, set captives free, and bear fruit that will last. To do that successfully, our foundations must be secure, and our roots deeply embedded in Jesus.
It is tempting to put all our emphasis on the works of ministry—teaching, witnessing, visiting the sick, & making disciples - and neglect our private devotion to Jesus. What about deepening our relationship with the Lord simply for the sake of that relationship? What about pursuing becoming like Jesus as a goal, and not just as a motivation for more effective ministry?
The demands and responsibilities of life and ministry often drive us to action and away from devotion, pushing us to work for the Lord, but pulling us away from waiting on the Lord. We must resist this tendency and make our relationships with God our highest priority.
Luke 5:15-16 - “…great multitudes came together to hear and be healed by Him of their infirmities. So, He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed…” Jesus compassionately healed the sick, which would have pulled Him to the crowds, not away from them. Yet “he would withdraw to the wilderness and pray.” Jesus knew the wisdom of praying before and after ministering to people! If He could break away from the needs of the crowds to pray, why can’t we? If meeting with His Father was more important to Jesus than meeting with people, why isn’t it more important to us? If He needed that time alone with God, don’t we need it multiple times more?
The Lord’s ministry of power flowed directly out of His time alone with God. He did not sacrifice intimacy with His Father for the sake of ministry. We are called to give up many things in our service for the Lord, but our personal relationship with Him is never one of them. We cannot neglect it.
Possible hindrances or attacks when making disciples -
• Weekly scheduled group times are disrupted or cancelled by sickness or unforeseen events.
• Strife between spouses and/or within families that are involved in discipleship.
• Facilitators are discouraged and feel they don’t want to share personally.
• Those who find it hard to memorize Scriptures try to think of excuses not to memorize.
• Distractions arise that prevent people from following through with their discipleship commitments such as: new work opportunities or new relationships (especially for singles).
• Computer and printing problems commonly occur.
• Attacks of sickness, family problems, and injuries increase.