Use your most valuable gift to pray for your D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.S.
Discipleship is all about time, it takes more life-investment in people than lecture-investment towards them. Jesus demonstrated the investment of time in primarily two ways: his daily use of time and his devotional time. He gave both to his disciples. In Mark 3:14 it says that Jesus appointed the twelve “so that they might be with Him.” Sure, He would eventually send them out, but the time he gave of His everyday, routine life was required to mold and prepare them to be sent on mission.
Jesus also spent a great deal of time talking to His heavenly Father about His disciples. He specifically made requests for them and for their future disciples in John 17. His prayer habits were a discipline. He rose “very early in the morning, while it was still dark…and went out to desolate places to pray” (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16).
I have been convicted to pray specifically and routinely for my men—it’s on of the most transformative investments of time you can make. So I compiled a list of requests in the acrostic D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.S. to help you to remember specific things in your prayers:
Depend on Jesus and trust the gospel!
Discipleship begins before conversion. We love and labor in the lives of the lost. At first, we disciple them to Jesus and then, later, disciple them in Jesus. Regardless, our prayer should to be that the simple gospel is always sweet and as satisfying as they day they first believed.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:13-14 ESV
Imitate godly mentors in their lives.
My prayer is that they will continue (long past their relationship with me) to imitate mentors who lead Godly lives. That they would never grow out of or lose sight of their need for discipleship.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Hebrews 13:7-8 ESV
Share the gospel
Discipleship is complete when disciples are making other disciples. But disciples cannot be made unless the gospel is shared. As they follow Jesus, I pray that He makes them into fishers of men who make other fisherman.
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 10:13-15 ESV
Confess sin to God and men.
Sin drives us to our Savior like nothing else. I want my men to seize the opportunity to depend on Jesus more, not to run from Him in fear. He is safe and calls the sin-laden masses to come as they are. May our disciples learn that repentance and confession fixes our eyes on Jesus often. They testify to the greatness of grace of our God before men.
If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and forgive us of all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 ESV
Increase in humility and holiness
John the Baptist said it well, “He must increase, I must decrease.” When Jesus increases in our disciples’ lives, it gives way to humility and holiness. The presence of Jesus erodes our awareness of self and replaces it with a desire for conformity to Christ. Jesus causes our sight to shift away from self, outwardly and upwardly.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV
Pray fervently and faithfully
To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a follower of Jesus. Part of following Jesus is to imitate His practice and pattern of prayer. He took time to pray and taught his men to pray (Matthew 6). He, by his death and resurrection, has torn the curtain in two and opened an unimpeded fast track of communication with the Father. If the prayer of the “Christ-infused” righteous avails much (James 5:16), then might our disciples prayer time reflect the power and privilege of what the cross has accomplished.
“Be devoted to prayer keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”
Colossians 4:2 ESV
Love like they have been loved
Jesus said, “They will know you are mine by your love for one another.” No one loves like our Lord. May our Lord’s unconditional and full love be evident in the unconditional and unending love our disciples lavish on spouses, children, family, friends, and the unbelieving. They must love, because He first loved them.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”
1 John 3:16 ESV
Establish and Equip others to follow Jesus and become fishers of men
We, like Jesus, long for more leaders and laborers in the harvest field. It is plentiful, but the laborers are indeed few. Since the sheep are harassed, helpless, and shepherd-less, we ask God to multiply his name and mission through the lives of our disciples. We long to take immense joy in generations of spiritual children who are walking in the truth (3 John 4).
“…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
2 Timothy 2:2 ESV
Spirit-filled in behavior and decision-making
Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. May God’s good deposit confirm their inheritance, shape their behavior, and inform their decisions. How we would long for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to mark their lives and so fill them that the rottenness of the world would lose all taste and temptation.
“And those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit let us also walk by the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:24, 25 ESV