Hey everyone…today I came across a good article on discipleship by Robert Delnay and wanted to share an excerpt with you…
From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He began calling disciples to follow Him (Matthew 4:18-22), and He seems to have taken them along on His preaching tours right away. John 4:2 implies that from the beginning of those tours Jesus had His disciples do the baptizing. Not long afterward Jesus spent a night in prayer and then called the twelve (Luke 6:12-16). Then some weeks or months later He sent them out to do what He had been doing (Matthew 9:35-10:42).
Note the order in which He did it:
- He preached and healed, permitting them to watch His ministry (9:35).
- He let them perceive the compassion that He felt toward the crowds (9:36).
- He commanded them to pray earnestly for workers (9:38).
- He gave them authority to cast out demons and to heal (10:1).
- He gave them a whole chapter of specific instruction and encouragements.
- He sent them out to serve.
Now, how do you follow that same pattern?
First, get some disciples and take them along to watch your ministry.
Second, find ways to convey to them your honest concern for people.
Third, remind them of the believer’s authority over the powers of darkness (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9).
Fourth, after giving your disciples a chance to watch you at work, you should instruct them as to what their service involves.
Finally, send them out to do the sort of ministry they watched you do.
How much should you monitor their work? Jesus seems not to have critiqued their preaching or healing, nor did He ever have them do any practice preaching; from the beginning their service was in real life situations. From the beginning He expected actual service.
We do well to follow the same pattern of reality service. In training our disciples, at no point are we to have them play parts, fill roles, or put on performances.
Some months later Jesus’ disciples were ready for more. After watching Him pray, one of them asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11: 1). Not how to pray; it is unlikely he had forgotten Matthew 6. He was now asking Him how to go on praying, how to spend time in prayer.
So how do we handle phase two? We follow Jesus’ example by first reviewing what He had already taught them, the pattern of the so-called Lord’s Prayer. Next we explain the principle of importunity, that if by returning again and again we can get answers from another person, how much more God the Father is going to respond to our continued coming.
Jesus’ last instructions turned out to be the disciples’ final exam on prayer. After the Last Supper He led them to the Garden of Gethsemane. There, with events impending that they could not imagine, He commanded that while He prayed they should stay awake and pray. Jesus then agonized in prayer, and the eleven went off to sleep. Jesus woke Peter and asked if he did not have the strength to pray for an hour. What could he answer? Then Jesus gave them a startling command—that if necessary, they should pray standing up, lest they enter into temptation (Luke 22:46).
Sadly, they all failed the final examination.
If we can teach the urgency and the sweetness of vital prayer, we will bring blessing on our disciples’ lives and ministries. If we fail to teach that urgency, we will convey the alternate message, that contact with God is not particularly important, and service in the flesh is a live option.
But Jesus demanded that His disciples pray.
Praying for you and your disicples!!!