The first disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. He taught his disciples to pray by giving them a pattern for prayer. We find it in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. We know it as “The Lord’s Prayer,” and many a Christian has memorized it. However, it is a pattern for prayer.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name,”
– Acknowledge He is our Father who resides in heaven and that His name is to be revered.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,”
– acknowledge He is sovereign over all the affairs of men and we want His will above our own; submission and humility in prayer
“Give us this day our daily bread,”
– petition Him for our daily needs; i.e., sustenance, harmony, peace, life to the fullest, contentment, whatever our needs for the day may be
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,”
– confession time! Confess your sins (yes, we are all forgiven sinners) and forgive those who have sinned against us.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
– praying He will keep us on the narrow path, that we will not turn to the left or the right, but remain squarely in the shadow of His wings.
Teaching disciples to pray is, to put it lightly, a challenge.
Prayer is a posture we are unaccustomed to assuming. Western culture advances the school of self. Self-sufficiency, self-assurance, self-aggrandizement… There is a constant, droning, self-conversation running through our minds at all times.
Disciple makers teach others to turn their self-conversation into a conversation with the Lord about the things we are wrestling with.
In prayer we are acknowledging The Lord who dwells in heaven and hears our prayers. This is a paradigm shift that will forever change the life and lifestyle of the new and learning disciple.
The first feeble attempts at prayer are challenging for all who have chosen to follow Jesus.
TEACH THEM TO PRAY!
Methodology of Prayer
One of my favorite methods of teaching new disciples to pray powerful and effective prayers (James 5:16) is to introduce The Prayer Hand Illustration, and then teach them to pray the scripture in each of the five areas of prayer. I believe the Lord delights in hearing His children pray His Word back to Him. I love hearing my grown children repeat things that I told them when they were small, so I’m sure He delights in the same.
courtesy of The Navigators @ www.navigators.org
Allow me to walk you through this process. Teaching prayer will be ongoing throughout your time with those you disciple. Don’t dump this on them in one sitting.
Go through these five aspects of prayer and concentrate on one of them at a time. Once they get the hang of it, move to the next.
Examples of praying scripture:
(voice your wonder at who He is) The Psalms are excellent for praise.
Psalm 18:1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.
Turn it into a prayer:
Father in heaven, I love you because you give me strength for this day. I have no strength of my own to offer; only You make me strong.
(thank Him for what He has done for you)
2 Corinthians 4:13-15 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Turn it into a prayer:
Lord, I thank you for raising the Lord Jesus from the dead so I too am raised from the dead. Thank you for pouring out your grace upon me in overflowing measure.
Thank you for (whatever answers to prayer He has given you)
(praying for others)
Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
See also: 1 Timothy 2:1-4 there is a list of others whom we should be praying for as well as the main purpose of our prayers for them – [v.4] “that they would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”
This aspect of prayer is easier for most. They know who they want to pray for and what the need is. The verses above will help them understand it is our duty to pray for others. It is particularly important to teach those you disciple to pray out loud. The more they practice, the more comfortable they will be.
How often have others asked you to pray for them? It occurs quite often in my life. I have to confess that I would say, “I will pray for you,.” then neglect praying with them then and there. I cannot recall how many years it took me to feel comfortable praying on the spot for someone who asks for prayer. It is second hand now, but please know – particularly for introverts – praying with others is a major hurdle to jump!
(praying for my needs)
Matthew 6:26-27 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
[Note] There is a vast difference between needs and wants. What do you NEED today that you do not currently possess? Is it material, spiritual, or relational? See your life in light of needs versus wants. Pray for both and leave them at His feet today.
Ask Him for your daily needs. Mt. 6:11 – give us today our daily bread
Turn it into a prayer:
Lord, thank you for providing all that I need for this day. I have food to eat, and a home for sleeping. Lord, I ask that you sustain me in this day, give me insight to see You in all my circumstances today.
Pray for your day, let Him know what concerns you have, the needs you have, the desires you have, etc.
(agreeing with God about my sin)
Psalm 41:4 I said, “O Lord, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
Speak each word of Ps. 41:4 as your prayer and confess your sins.
[Note] If the one you are discipling is a new believer, they may not be able to acknowledge their own sin. I once had someone tell me, “I didn’t sin this week.” Teach them from scripture, what sin is and why it needs to be confessed and repented of. You may need to point out their sin to kick-start their listening to the Holy Spirit in the area of sin.
It is my prayer that this tool for teaching disciples to pray is helpful to you. The best way they will learn this is to hear you pray for them often. There is nothing more penetrating to the soul than someone praying for us, out loud, in our presence, with a heart full of love and support.
My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you will grow in your prayer life as a result of this instruction. I pray He will give you the desire to seek Him all day long and carry on a conversation with Him. His smile is a blessing that keeps us going and growing!