Use prayer as a discipleship tool

Prayer isn’t just about praying. It helps you know God. What’s He like? What are His interests? What promises can be claimed? How does He view needs?

The list can run for pages.

Prayer also brings wisdom. It helps us sift through what matters. What’s real. What lasts. It’s an exercise in eternity.

Prayer involves the Word. There are examples to follow and learn from. Conviction and repentance take shape there, as does other-centeredness.

Prayer is so huge 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 kids — Specific prayers for each of them. Release them to God since they don’t really belong to you. They are His people. Seek God’s involvement in ways and issues that serve His interests for them. Then teach them to pray such things for themselves. (Paul often told his spiritual children what he prayed for them.)

Pray for yourself — Your heart must be right for you to wield a strong and safe influence on your kids. Your baggage loads them down; God’s interests raise them up. Then teach them to surrender their own will and strongholds through prayer.

Pray for other students — Make a list if you want. The friends, acquaintances, classmates, church friends, kids on the team, in band, drama, track, cousins, whatever. Pray for all the students that will influence yours and be influenced by yours. (This takes time, but the network of impact will grow exponentially.) This may even be why God puts certain groups together —so I you (and your students) will influence them through prayer.

Pray for what matters — It’s not so much behaviors as hearts. If you pray that way, you’ll train others to pray that way. And see life that way.

The Organic Principle — Like spiritual growth and relational growth, answers to prayer usually happen organically. You pray for peaches and God plants peach trees. Knowing this helps offset our consumer expectations. Otherwise prayer is the fast track to disappointment.

The Crisis Intervention Principle — When someone needs immediate help, the immediate influence of prayer is more noticeable. We’ve seen God respond immediately to urgent pleas. Prayers in the night, prayers around the block, prayers after arguments or before weighty discussions. The urgency of immediacy can engender tenderness and affection. All of which can be observed and discussed with the students in your life.

Know some students who might be open to dialoging about prayer? What an opportunity!

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