This is an ongoing work in progress. While I am writing these articles on discipleship, I am actually doing these same things with other men on a regular basis. Spiritual reproduction is my goal with them. I want them to be able to teach these things to another man that God gives to them. That is the principle of disciplemaking in 2 Timothy 2:2. "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
Visualize if you would that you are sitting across from me in a restaurant, and we are having an exciting conversation about making disciples.
I would suggest getting a three ring binder notebook for your new disciple, print all these pages as you work with your disciple, so that they may reproduce this in the life of another.
Today, let's talk about prayer. One of the five basics that we learned about in a previous meeting was prayer. It is probably the most important thing that I can teach you.
And yet it is the most neglected areas of our lives. Busy, busy, busy! That is the picture of life in the 21st Century.
We wake up in the morning and we are off to the races. We know it is good to start each day with a daily "quiet time", but many times we put it off, and think we can squeeze it in at noon or in the evening. Then nighttime comes, we are too tired, and we procrastinate and say, "Tomorrow I will pray."
Prayer is the forgotten art of the church. Long winded prayer meeting turns off many young believers. Mid week prayer service is the least attended meeting of most churches.
Think about prayer as conversation with God. Conversation with one other person is not one sided. We need to learn how to listen to God. In a large prayer group, silence is met with uneasiness in the group. People are wondering who is going to go next or close the prayer.
Learning to pray should be taught by the older men and women of the church. The problem with most fellowships is many of the leaders have never learned how to pray.
We learn the "canned" expressions of our forefathers and we mimic what we have heard. The typical prayer meeting in most churches revolves around most of the older believers praying, and the new Christians afraid to pray out loud.
Now if you stop and think about it, if prayer is just conversation with God, why do we operate our prayer meetings the way we do? If five of us were standing around having a conversation, we would be talking about one subject at a time. I would say something, then you would chime in with your thoughts, and perhaps one other person would say something. Then the subject would change, and a similar thing happens on the new subject.
But not so in most church prayer meetings. We share requests around the room, and then someone begins to pray and prays for several of the requests. Then someone else prays, sometimes for the same things, but usually will pray some of the other requests. If you will think about your involvement in prayer meetings, you will probably admit that when Joe was praying for Mrs. Johnson and her gallbladder surgery, that God had prompted you to pray for her kids while she was in the hospital, but since it was not "your turn to pray" the prayer went unsaid, and perhaps by the time it came around to you, you had forgotten the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Rosalind Rinker wrote a book about 20 years ago titled "Conversational Prayer". It can be purchased on line or at most Christian book stores. I would suggest getting a copy and practicing what she talks about in the book. There is a link at the bottom of the page to order from Amazon.com.
I would suggest practicing this with your family first and then perhaps with one other person. Then as you become experienced in praying conversationally, you can introduce it into your small groups.
It is rather simple. Let's say we have five of us praying. Tom, Billy, Sonny, Ted and Ron. We share requests, and Tom prays for Billy's new job.
It is a short prayer and then he stops, and Ted is led by the Holy Spirit to pray for Billy's new co-workers, and that he would be bold in sharing his faith with them. Then perhaps Sonny would pray for his stamina in the new job, since it required many more hours than he was working now.
Then after a short silence, Ron prays for the pastor and his sermon preparation. Billy chimes in and feels led to pray for the pastor's child who has been sick, and taking a lot of time. Then Ron might be prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray something else for the pastor.
Do you get the picture. It is much like the conversation you had around the coffee pot. Only remember to keep the prayers short and on one subject till you feel led by the Lord to pray for something else. Perhaps one person would just want to read or quote a Bible verse. Perhaps even someone would like to sing a short chorus of praise to God.
1 Corinthians 14:26 "How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying."
A further look at early New Testament small groups is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:29-33. The following is taken from the Living Bible paraphrase.
Two or three may prophesy, one at a time, if they have the gift, while all the others listen. But if, while someone is prophesying, someone else receives a message or idea from the Lord, he must not interrupt. The one speaking should be allowed to finish before another begins. In this way all who have the gift of prophecy can speak, one after the other, and everyone will learn and be encouraged and helped. Remember that a person who has a message from God has the power to stop himself and wait his turn. God is not one who likes things to be disorderly and upset. He likes harmony, and He finds it in all the other churches.
Many think the gift of prophecy refered to in these verses simply means being able to expound on the Word of God. I believe most believers have this gift.
I think we need to really bring the ministry of the Spirit of God into our prayer meetings with our family and with our church. It will be a little awkward at first, but I think you will like it once you try this new type of praying.
Well my friend. There is much I want to teach you about praying. We will talk more about it at a later meeting. I look forward to spending time with you and my Savior around his throne.
(If you want to try this in your small group, print out this excerpt from this page and let others in the group read it as you teach them) Two page excerpt for your group.