The first factor that fuels the growth of disciple-making movements around the world is passionate prayer.
Prayer and disciple-making are intimately linked. Prayer is one of God’s greatest gift to us. He gave it so that we would keep and be in indispensable spiritual communion with Him for all our lives. It is the vital artery of the Christian life. It is also a primary way we can love, support, and care for one another.
“Prayer is not learned in a classroom, but in the closet” (E. M. Bounds) and those who desire to be greatly used of God in the public arena had better be greatly known by God in the private hidden closet of prayer.
We have in the Scriptures the great examples left to us of God’s apostles and prophets, who were men of prayer. The apostolic letters bear witness to the prayers that Paul prayed in abundance for the disciples he made and mentored—and just as much he pleaded and entreated them to do the same for him (see Romans 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; cf Colossians 4:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; Romans 15:30; Philippians 1:19).
He took his cue from the master disciple-maker, Jesus, who so modeled a life of prayer that the disciples were compelled to want to pray like him (Luke 11:1). Jesus spent a night in prayer for those he would turn into his apostles (Luke 6:12-13). More than that, he often wrestled in prayer for them (E.g. for Peter in Luke 22:32 and John 17:9).
In fact, John 17 in its entirety is a beautiful record of a prayer that Jesus prays on their behalf. He seeks the Father for a number of things for them and for the disciples who would come from them (see John 17:20). These include: that they may be united (vs 11), filled with great joy (vs 13), be protected from the evil one (vs 11 and 15), be sanctified by God’s word (vs 17), and be sent out into the world (vs 18).
We do well to pray the same things for those we are making disciples of.
Great pray-ers make for great disciple-makers. Joel Comiskey, a well-known consultant in cell group multiplication, reports from his extensive research that disciple-makers who regularly and intentionally pray for their disciples are more likely to see those cells multiply.
As a NAMS companion, I am aware how much I need to improve and grow in this area. But, I want to because I have a personal investment in the lives of those I am called to disciple, lead, and help to multiply. Thank God that He has not left us to struggle on our own, but has given us His Spirit to help us do just that (Romans 8:26-27)!
Brothers and sisters, let us pray.
— Manik Corea.
All Nations Bangkok Team Leader,
NAMS South-East Asia