“Prayer changes things.” Since childhood, this platitude has been engrained in my mind. But what does it mean? A person prays. Prays some more. Asks God for something. Asks God to fix something. Yet much of the time it seems nothing happens. So, is it true that “prayer changes things”? If so, what things does prayer change? What does this statement mean and how does one recognize when something changes?
Mother Teresa once said, “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.” But Jesus said, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14 NASB) He also said, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:30, NASB)
One of the spiritual disciplines needed to develop as a true disciple is prayer. Jesus demonstrated the discipline of prayer in His own life and taught His disciples to pray, even providing a format for prayer in the Disciples Prayer, better known as The Lord’s Prayer. Paul, in his epistles, urged young Timothy and the first century church to pray for all people everywhere (I Timothy 2:1-8), to pray always (I Thessalonians 5:17), and to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6-7).
As DisciplePath trains churches in whole church intentional discipleship, one of the first disciplines taught and modeled in the “Follow Me” phase is the discipline and practice of prayer. For those who desire to be faithful followers of Jesus, there is no exception. Jesus invited His disciples to follow Him. Being a disciple meant not only learning the teachings of the rabbi. Choosing to become a disciple and follow the rabbi meant to become like Him. In fact, an ancient disciple once stated, “I followed my rabbi, not to learn Torah, but to watch him tie his sandals.”
DisciplePath provides coaching, training, and resources, for pastors and church teams to lead churches to intentionally make disciples who are complete in Christ, making and multiplying disciples for the Kingdom. Producing this kind of disciple will result in churches that pray like Jesus prayed leading to prayer that changes things.
DisciplePath is continually seeking the best resources to help pastors and churches on the journey to healthy, intentional disciplemaking churches. Recently The Prayer Practice: Companion Guide was introduced at the 2023 Next Gen Leaders Conference. This excellent guidebook will help new believers and long-time followers of Jesus gain a better understanding of prayer while providing “spiritual exercises, best practices, and good advice on how to pray.” (p. 6) For a deeper dive into the spiritual discipline of prayer, consider the original book by Tyler Staton, Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools.
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