If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.John 15:7 CEB
God answers the prayers of His disciples. I teach the people that God gives me to disciple that prayer is the first ministry skill to master.
I like to say that if you fail to pray, you’re praying to fail. How can you know what’s on God’s agenda for today if you don’t ask Him? Unless God builds the house, we labor in vain. We have to be following the Master’s plan and schedule to be successful.
What’s the first skill babies pick up in the natural? Praying out loud. When we’re born, we’re basically helpless. We don’t understand language yet, but we can advocate for our needs by crying out. If there is someone there to respond, our cries are answered in real and tangible ways.
Life is all about getting your needs met. If we are loved and cared for, we thrive. If not, life is a terrible ordeal to be endured.
The Good News is that we have a Father in Heaven that loves us with a perfect love and He is ready and willing to meet our needs in real and tangible ways. God is our provider.
Yesterday, I was helping a friend learn how to pray effectively and listen to God’s replies. We started the 8 session series on Doing What Jesus Did from Ministry Training Network.
It’s the best thing I’ve found to date for rapidly equipping believers in essential Holy Spirit led ministry skills. There are links on our Resources page to their content. I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can learn it by yourself with their free online training, but it’s best facilitated with an experienced practitioner.
Part of what makes the format so effective is that after each teaching there is practice in the practical application of the skills just learned. Practice what you preach, right? Even the world wants us to do that. I can talk all day about riding a bike, but you’ll never learn until you start pedalling.
Prayer is probably the most essential ministry skill to teach people you are discipling after worship. Learning how to pray is simply learning how to talk to God. More correctly, it’s learning how to converse with God. God’s alive. He’s always speaking, but are we listening? And are we responding in faith?
Disciplemaking is a teaching ministry. You’re teaching people how to learn from God. We are lifetime learners, everyday we learn something new in the Lord. Life in God is an endless adventure with a glorious outcome already promised.
The best way to teach is by example. We must model what we want others to pick up. We must live the message we preach and teach. Prayer is no different.
After we watched the video and discussed it a little further, I prayed out loud so my friend could witness how I pray. Then, I waited and listened for what the Lord would say to me. You know what He said? No? Well, let me tell you.
“Ask for whatever you want.”
Isn’t that amazing? What a confirmation that God hears our prayers and will answer them.
I knew that answer was a quote from Scripture, so I looked it up later that day. It built my faith and encouraged me because it’s a conditional promise from God.
God was giving me the green light. He was confirming that I was in Christ, abiding in His love, and the implanted Word was living and active in my heart. Those are the perfect conditions for getting your prayers answered. If you pray selfish prayers for your own pleasure, you can forget about it coming to pass.
God wants us to pray His will be done. We get to participate in God’s work by being a mouthpiece and His hands and feet in Creation. You’ll never go it alone and you’re not meant to be the leader. We are Christ followers. Listening prayer gets us oriented correctly to what the Holy Spirit is doing and saying. If you’re walking with Jesus, everything you do will prosper.
Worship, prayer, obedience. That’s what disciples do and teach. It’s pretty simple honestly. I hope that takes some of the mystery out of it for you. There’s no better way of life in my book.
I pray today that God would stir up your thirst to pray and listen to God everyday. May He gently guide you into the fullness of His love. And may everything you do be done in love to the glory of His Name. Amen.