Prayer is a vital part of any discipling relationship. You will naturally want to pray for your disciple. And you will encourage your disciple to participate fully in the spiritual discipline of prayer. But how often have you prayed together?
No, I don’t mean brief prayer times at the beginning or end of your discipling sessions. While those prayer times are important in centering discipling efforts in Jesus and His commands, I mean praying together when the purpose is prayer or relationship with God.
Talking about prayer is necessary, but actually praying together is where the power, growing relationship, and learning take place. What are some ways to do so with your disciple? Consider these ideas:
- FOCUS: determine a focus or main purpose for the prayer time
- LENGTH: set a time, place, and length (could be a portion of your discipling sessions, whether occasional or regularly)
- ORDER: determine the order of participation
- METHOD: settle upon a method if desired (such as praying ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication)
- LENGTHEN: consider building into occasional longer periods
- DEBRIEF: the first few times, you might debrief with your disciples to find out what was valuable and what was confusing or difficult about the prayer experience.
Praying together like this helps your disciple to develop confidence and competence in praying. It strengthens discipling bonds. It is a concrete way to learn a variety of methods. And helps the disciple to value and grow in his/her relationship with God.
Prayer (talking/responding to God) is one half of a conversation with God. Bible study (listening) is the other. We do a disservice in our discipling efforts if we ignore prayer while only teaching our disciples about Bible study.
Commitment and obedience are natural results of encountering God in Bible study. Our prayer response will typically be of agreement or struggle (if we are honest). If there is agreement, commitment will follow. Where we check on our commitment is in journaling, accountability, or in follow up prayer. That is where obedience is encouraged and celebrated.
So pray together with your disciple. Begin with 10-15 minutes. Choose about whom or what you will pray. Take turns. Decide who will go first. Then pray. Debrief afterwards. And encourage your disciple to add praying together to his/her discipling efforts in the future.
Prayer matters, and praying together is a key way to demonstrate that fact in your discipling efforts. When will you do this? Share your experience by leaving a reply at the bottom of this post. Others can benefit from your comments. Pray. Make disciples!