Nothing much happens in the Kingdom of God on earth unless someone is praying for it. God tells us in the Bible, “You do not have because you do not ask.” Jesus explains this promise in the context of God providing what we need for doing His ministry: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (James 4:2, John 14:13)
Prayer is the most powerful force on earth—because it allows you to take advantage of the same power that spoke the universe into existence—if you pray in the name (authority) of Jesus to the end that the Father would be glorified in the Son. So, if you are in the ministry of exalting Jesus on earth (which is what we are training you to do in this discipleship leaders course), then the power of prayer is your GREATEST asset. Don’t fail to use it. You cannot be successful in discipleship without it.
Here is a valuable insight: Prayer is not so much a thing you do, but it really is the process of building a relationship with God. This is a relationship characterized by learning to rely on God to provide for all your needs.
In this process of getting to know God better, it is important to understand what He says about Himself in His Word (the Bible). It is important to know how He wants you to represent Him to the world. It is important to know what and how He wants you to do all that. This means that in addition to prayer, and to make your prayer more effective, it is really important to spend time in His word (the Bible) learning all you can about Him. But even as you read His word, you need to ask God to give you the understanding you need from the words you read in the Bible. This is part of the ministry of God’s Holy Spirit to you as promised by Jesus. So take full advantage of this HUGE provision.
In the book of James (James 1:5), God promises to give us wisdom whenever we ask for it! But we have to actually expect Him to give it when we ask (James 1:6). Our personal testimony is that God NEVER fails to keep this promise; He always gives wisdom when we ask for it. And we have asked for it a lot!
Two other things our personal testimony has discovered that He always gives us when we ask is: (a) His love for others (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8), and (b) that others will look on you with favor. We encourage you to remember to ask God a lot for these two things, in addition to wisdom.
Often you may find yourself lacking strength to do the things God is calling you to do. When strength is something you need to do the will of God, then ask Him for it. Remember, He promises to give you what you need to do the ministry He has called you to do. As long as you are involved and committed to glorifying Jesus Christ among people, God delights to provide you with whatever you need to be successful in that—so ask Him!
And what about when unforeseen difficulties come up that threaten to derail the work God has called you to? Pray for wisdom, strength, favor and rescue! (Is this starting to sound familiar?) This certainly includes asking God for deliverance from the schemes of the devil.
But don’t just pray for your own strength, favor, wisdom, and rescue. As the leader of your discipleship group, you have leadership responsibilities for their welfare—at least as it relates to the welfare of their souls. So, pray for them. Pray for them before, during, and after group discussion meetings. Pray for them when they ask you to.
It is also helpful to ask others to pray for you. Ask others that you know will pray for you to pray for you and your ministry and those you are ministering to.
If all this seems like a lot of praying, it might be helpful to think of prayer as a lot like spiritual breathing. You breathe all the time. As a matter of fact, you breathe so often that you would not really seriously think of NOT breathing—at least not for long. Let your talking with God through prayer be like that for you. Talk to God when you are walking, or driving your car, when you are dressing, when you are falling asleep, when you first wake up, before meals, before you begin your next meeting, before you start your next task, and any other time you start to do anything, or need guidance or provision or rescue or wisdom!!! God thrills to be in a vibrant ongoing relationship with you! Relationships are based on communication and communication with God is what we call prayer. Enjoy your walk with God, because He enjoys His walk with you! Keep talking to Him, and let Him talk to you, which He prefers to do when you read His word.
How do you teach the people in your discipleship group how to pray? That’s simple. Teach them all we talk about in this lesson on prayer, and model it for them in your relationships with them.