Use prayer as a discipleship tool

Prayer isn’t just about praying. It helps you know God. What are His interests? Which promises can be claimed? How does He view your needs, or the needs of others?

Prayer also brings wisdom. It’s a window into eternity, helping us see what matters, what’s real, and what lasts. And it involves the Word, which provides context, examples to follow, and lessons to learn.

Conviction and repentance take shape through prayer, as does other-centeredness.

Prayer is so central to our faith it can form the core of any discipleship relationship. Do it together and discuss it together. Here are some ideas to prime the pump . . .

  • Pray for your family. Specific prayers for each of them. Seek God’s involvement in their lives in ways that serve His interests for them. Explain what you’re praying for and why. (The Apostle Paul often told his spiritual children what he prayed for them.)
  • Pray for yourself. When your heart is right before God you wield a healthy influence on others. Our baggage exacts a cost — from us and from others. Model what it looks like to surrender your will and strongholds through prayer.
  • Pray for others. Make a list if you want. Friends, acquaintances, people at work, church, school, the neighborhood, and so on. Pray for the people who influence you, your family, and your friends. This takes time, but the network of your impact will grow exponentially. It may even be why God puts certain people in your path — so you will influence them through prayer.
  • Pray for what matters. Don’t shy from weighty topics, powerful themes, international events. If you pray this way, you’ll train others to see all threats and complexities as subject to God’s sovereignty.

Answers to prayer often happen organically. If you pray for peaches, God may plant peach trees in your life. On the other hand, when someone needs immediate help, the influence of prayer will be more noticeable. Prayers at midnight, prayers of anguish, prayers for crucial need — the immediacy of urgency can engender tenderness and affection.

All of which can be observed and discussed with the person you’re discipling.