Category Archives: Prayer
Being on mission to make disciples will quickly bring us to the end of ourselves. We need divine help and resources. The pathway opened up for us to request and receive them is prayer (Matthew 7:7-8). Getting more serious about making disciples, should include getting more serious about prayer. Disciple makers create a culture of prayer around their life through personal habits (like with daily prayer prompts), including diligent intercession (like with a prayer calendar), and humbly seeking the prayers of other like minded believers. Do you have a prayer partner or a prayer partner network? You can build these relationships and increase the capacity of prayer for those you desire to reach and disciple.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Make a list of people you know that have invested in you, prayed for you, and will be interested in your efforts to share the gospel and make disciples. These may be people in your church, people you grew up with, people who discipled you. And these are people who should have a heart to see people saved and discipled.
2. Reach out to them and invite them to be a prayer partner with you in making disciples. Consider this approach: “You’ve been an important part of my spiritual life to this point. Thank you! I’m getting more serious about my life as a witness and disciple maker. Would you be willing to pray for me and with me on this journey.”
3. Communicate with your partners regularly about specific people that you’d like them to pray for. Email or text message are great tools to mobilize prayer. The more specific the prayer requests the better. Consider names and stories of lost people that God is bringing to your mind. You may want to brand your communication around a favorite verse or aspect of your personal calling.
4. Keep communication brief. These are most likely people who are busy and active in other spiritual endeavors. They’ll appreciate brevity and respect for their time.
5. Celebrate the stories of life change through prayer. And when God’s people are mobilized to pray specifically and according to his heart for the lost, there will be life change!
Years ago, I was a prayer partner with a young lady who wanted to see a friend saved. She invited everyone she knew that prayed and had a heart for the lost to pray for him by name. She sent reminders everyday for three weeks. Dozens, if not hundreds prayed for this man for three weeks.
I was then part of a team from our church that went to his house specifically to share the gospel with him and his family. After small talk, we asked him, “Have you ever thought about your relationship with God? about heaven and hell? about eternal life?”
He said, “Are you kidding me? That’s all I’ve been able to think about for the last three weeks!”
He gave his life to Christ right there and was soon baptized and dozens of people who prayed were able to celebrate the life change in this families life.
Creating a culture of prayer can increase the potential and capacity for fruitfulness in our lives and praise to God as he is glorified through answers to prayer. Get started by making your list of potential partners.
Church leaders are known for encouraging prayer. Encouraging an action is not as effective if the person is not actively involved in it. Encouraging works best from alongside or behind, when you’re observing an action. I’ve recently been inspired by a prayer mobilization tool called the Prayer Calendar. This tool and the habits that go along with it, go further than personal prayer, but are meant to draw other people into your life of intercession and create a culture of prayer around your life.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Make a list of 30 to 90 people who you know that need prayer.
2. Focus first on those who are lost or whose spiritual condition is unknown to you.
3. Put these in a spreadsheet numbered 1-30. So if you have 60 names, you will make two columns. If 90 names, 3 columns. I’ve made a template for you HERE.
4. Pray for the names on the corresponding day of the month that you’ve written or typed in everyday. So the names in row 1, you’d pray for every 1st day of the month. The names on row 25, you’d pray for every 25th day of the month.
Other tips here:
- You could organize the columns if you’d like into Lost, Unknown Spiritual Condition, Family, Church Family, Missionaries or whatever.
- I have about 150 people in my Prayer Calendar, so 5 columns of 30. Which allows me to intercede for 5 people each day.
How does this draw people in and create culture? It seems pretty individualistic at this point.
5. Call or text one or more of the people you pray for everyday and let them know you are praying for them. Ask them if they have any prayer requests. Pray with them on the phone if the occasion is right for that.
Disciple Making Tip:
- If they are already believers, tell them what you’re doing and ask them if they’d like to join you in making a prayer calendar for themselves.
- If yes, set up a time to meet with them to go over the plan for a prayer calendar.
- A yes, and a follow up here may tell you that this is a person ready to say yes to obedience and becoming a disciple maker. This may be someone that you can train and mentor and partner with.
What does this process do?
- It helps you organize the intercession part of your prayer life, which is essential to the life of a Disciple Maker. In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus talked about three key habits of kingdom people: Giving, Praying, Fasting. Why were these three, so important? Lots of reasons, but one is: YOU HAVE TO BE ORGANIZED TO PRACTICE THEM. If you don’t set a budget, you probably won’t give. If you don’t set a time and place and make a list, you probably won’t pray. If you don’t plan your meals and make a commitment, you probably won’t fast. Intercession requires organization. The Prayer Calendar has worked to establish intercession for me.
- It helps create a culture of prayer around your life. When you call or text people and let them know you are praying for them, you are letting them know what your life is about. You’re establishing yourself as a person they can call with needs or problems. Those people that have called me through the years and ask how they could pray for me are all close to my heart. They are unforgettable. They are now on my prayer calendar and will be getting calls from me as well.
- It helps you find persons of peace. Those who are excited about your efforts to pray for them and who may say yes to establishing their own prayer calendar are people God has prepared for this time. Your prayer for them and your call to them may very well be a divine appointment that propels them into spiritual maturity and binds the two of you together as partners in disciple making from now on.
Get Started Mobilizing Prayer!
Take some time this week to make your list and start your prayer calendar. If we want to make disciples, we must do what Jesus did, and he prayed regularly and consistently. Go beyond encouraging prayer. Mobilize prayer and expand the kingdom as Jesus did.
For more information on this process check out these resources:
- How to Pray Like a Disciple Maker – Video (1:32)
- Contagious Disciple Making Podcast on the Prayer Calendar (This one got me started)
Establishing prayer as a priority and rhythm of life is about being intentional. Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your private room, shut the door, and pray to Your Father who is in secret” Matthew 6:6. Three intentional acts in this one verse – “Go…shut…pray…” We see the intentionality of Jesus, as he often withdrew to quiet places to pray. Developing intentional rhythms for prayer and communion with God must be a priority for the believer.
One intentional step that has helped me prioritize prayer is using technology to remind me to pray regularly throughout the day. My smart watch buzzes everyday at 7:14am, 10:01am, and 4:02 pm. These times are reminders of three key verses for prayer and intercession.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
This is my usual devotional time, and this alarm reminds me to pray for humility, desire, forgiveness, and healing for our nation and the nations of the world. I’ll usually pull up the Unreached People of the Day during this time and pray for them as well.
Romans 10:01 is the Apostle Paul’s heart for his fellow country men – “my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation.”
This is the normal break time for my work, so it’s a great time to pray. This alarm reminds me to spend some time praying for people I know who are far from God. You can develop an active list using a process called Oikos Mapping and pray for those people everyday.
I usually also pray the 10:02 prayer for laborers at this time as well – “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.
James 4:2-3 says, “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives.”
This alarm, toward the end of the day, gives me an opportunity to stop and ask –
- What have I needed today, that I haven’t asked God for?
- What or who have I thought about today, that I haven’t prayed about yet?
- Where have my motives been selfish?
These three prayer prompts have helped establish times of prayer throughout the day. Consider setting alarms for yourself for 7:14am, 10:01am, and 4:02pm and join me in prayer.
- How have you established rhythms of prayer?
- What verses would be prayer prompts for you?
It is an understatement to say that prayer was an important part of the life of Jesus. It is also an understatement to say, if it was important to him, how much more should it be to us. During our churches 40 Days of Prayer journey this year, I’ve spent some time exploring the prayers of Jesus. A simple rhythm emerged that’s worth emulating.
1. Jesus prayed ALONE.
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” Luke 5:16
For the believer, private prayer is essential to power and essential to demonstrating to God our faith in him. If you don’t really believe in God’s promises to hear and answer prayer, you’ll never go to your private room or prayer closet, shut the door and with no one looking, seek God for power or for people (Matthew 6:6). Jesus spent considerable time alone with God. So should we.
What is your plan to pray ALONE? Where is your PLACE of private prayer?
2. Jesus prayed WITH OTHERS.
“he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.” Luke 9:28
Jesus had a small group of disciples that he did life with 24/7. He also had an inner circle of his closest friends that he gathered for special seasons of prayer and connection with God. Jesus promised special power to those who pray in agreement with others (Matthew 18:19-20), and he practiced this, by praying with others regularly throughout his ministry.
What is your plan to pray WITH OTHERS? Do you have a small group of friends that you pray with? Do you have prayer partners who pray for you regularly? Are you a faithful, praying friend to others in your life?
3. Jesus prayed FOR OTHERS.
“people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them” Matthew 19:13
Jesus talked to God about men along with talking to men about God. In Matthew 19, we see Jesus praying for children brought to him. Jesus prayed for his followers, including us future believers in John 17. The Bible even says that he intercedes for us still today (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). Paul, commends intercession, or praying for others, as a top priority for believers, urging prayer for everyone, including those in authority (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
What is your plan to pray FOR OTHERS? What people do you pray for by name everyday? How are you making intercession a part of your life of prayer?
4. Jesus prayed STRENUOUSLY.
“Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12
We see Jesus, taking prayer to another level throughout his life and ministry by spending nights in prayer to the Father. He began his ministry with 40 days of fasting and prayer. We see a rhythm in the life of Christ of him exerting himself with greater intensity in prayer.
When was the last time, you took your prayer life seriously and strenuously for a season? Could you see yourself doing an annual fast? Could you see yourself doing an annual retreat where you focused on God and God’s desire for an area of your life or a person or persons in your life?
A simple rhythm of prayer: Pray Alone – Pray With Others – Pray For Others – Pray Strenuously.
Next Steps / To Do’s:
- Schedule time alone with God at least 3 times this week. Find a place of connection with God in your home or in nature.
- Join a group at a local church or start a group in your home or at your work, that is committed to praying for each other.
- Make a list of people to pray for everyday. Your family, your church, your coworkers, your neighbors. Check out the Prayer Card app to help with organizing your prayer list.
- Look at your annual calendar and plan an overnight prayer retreat or a season of fasting and prayer this year. More about fasting HERE.
The book of James gives us some great truths about prayer.
- PRAYER WORKS! James 1:5
- Prayer works WHEN IT’S TRIED. James 4:2
- Prayer works when it’s tried WITH RIGHT MOTIVES. James 4:3
- Prayer works when done IN COMMUNITY. James 5:13-16
James also tells us about the power of prayer:
1. We can BE STRONG and ACCOMPLISH MORE through prayer. This is how the words “powerful in its effect” in James 5:16 can also be translated. Strength and accomplishment.
2. James puts one condition on prayers power: “The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” James 5:16. To gain full advantage in prayer, one must be RIGHT with God. This points to the need of a RELATIONSHIP with God through Christ. This is how we gain RIGHTEOUSNESS (see 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 3:18). Goodness is the best we can do, but RIGHTEOUSNESS is needed to get to heaven and to know all the blessings of life IN CHRIST, including a powerful, strong prayer life.
3. Prayer Requires Intentionality, Commitment, and Faith. James gives an example of the power of prayer from the life of Elijah. Elijah’s prayer actually changed weather patterns (James 5:17-18)! It’s a lesson in the endless possibilities of dependence upon God. As Jesus said it, “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
James says that Elijah prayed fervently or earnestly. This word proseuche is rich with meaning. Here are some ways that its definition and usage can be applied:
- pros means near of toward – prayer brings nearness to God
- seuche means vow or commitment – prayer is bringing our hearts near or toward God. Prayer should bring with it a heart of surrender and sacrifice and a commitment that says we are serious about our relationship, dependence, and usefulness to God.
- proseuche also denoted a real place. The word was used by Jews who lived in a city without a synagogue to mark a place for prayer gatherings. It also was used to describe an altar where people brought gifts prior to prayer and worship. Of course Jesus, encouraged or commanded the use of a prayer closet (Matthew 6:6).
Is your heart RIGHT with God? Do you have a PLACE for prayer? Do you believe in prayers power? Are you ready to give your heart to God? Then get after it, and expect to experience the powerful effects of prayer!
Prayer is co-operation with God. It is the purest exercise of the faculties God has given us—an exercise that links these faculties with the Maker to work out the intentions He had in mind in their creation. Prayer is aligning ourselves with the purposes of God…
Prayer is commitment. We don’t merely co-operate with God with certain things held back within… We, the total person, co-operate. This means that co-operation equals commitment. Prayer means that the total you is praying… Your whole being reaches out to God, and God … reaches down to you…
Prayer is communion. Prayer is a means, but often it is an end in itself… There are times when your own wants and the needs of others drop away and you want just to look on His face and tell Him how much you love Him…
Prayer is commission. Out of the quietness with God, power is generated that turns the spiritual machinery of the world. When you pray, you begin to feel the sense of being sent, that the divine compulsion is upon you.
Loving the App http://pray4everyhome.com/. You can sign up as a praying neighbor and get your church signed up as a partner church. Get five neighbors names emailed to you everyday.
Why Pray for Neighbors? In a typical neighborhood:
- 7 struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide
- 7 abuse or are addicted to drugs and alcohol
- 14 are crippled with fear and anxiety
- 60 don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ
Check out pray4everyhome.com.