Prayer as a Disciple Prayer as a Discipline

Prayer as a Disciple Prayer as a Discipline

Jan 22, 2016

By Rev. Steven James

Verona SDB Church

It’s interesting that our word “disciple” contains the idea of “discipline.” It stands to follow that if we are to follow Jesus Christ — if we say we are His disciples — that discipline must be a part of the experience.

By discipline, I am focusing on the idea, not of correction, but of commitment — of a determined focus on something by one person that is expected of him by another. In this case, by focusing on our prayer lives as followers of Jesus because He Himself practiced prayer, both privately and together with others; as well as sharing principles by which we ourselves are to pray. He expects it of us!

If we know that Jesus modeled prayer and that He means for us to be people of prayer, why are we so dysfunctional when it comes to prayer, rather than being disciplined?

Praying hands of young man on a wooden desk background.

For example: just in the first seven days of “Our Daily Bread” devotions for the new year of 2016 there were three that touched on prayer. The first one assured the reader that God answers prayer. The second asked the question we all have felt at one time — whether God hears our prayers. The third addressed the dynamic of making God the focus of our prayers!

When I saw this, it hit me that our feelings about and our practice of prayer can take many different forms in our lives, depending on any number of factors (sometimes all in one week)!

It has been said that the best way to learn to pray is to…pray! The only way we can keep our focus on God when we pray, work through times of “silence” as we pray, and believe that God truly does answer our prayers is through discipline (as defined above). The best discipline to follow as disciples/followers of Jesus when it comes to prayer is to follow His example as well as those of His first disciples.

I would encourage you to read the best book on prayer you’ll ever find: the Bible! Take time to read the Gospels to see Jesus’ heart for, and habit of, prayer. Spend your efforts on reading how the first followers of Jesus, and the churches that they composed, prayed: which was often, fervently and together! Grasp ahold of what was written by His followers for future followers (us) as it pertains to prayer. Take note of any attitudes and actions related to prayer that you can begin to bring into your life and the life of your church right now.

In addition to God’s Word, there are a couple of books that have impacted my life recently, and the life of the church I pastor, that can be sources of great encouragement: “The Lord Art of Praying Together” and “Praying The Prayers of the Bible” — both by Pastor James Banks. Another is “The Battle Plan for Prayer,” part of the “War Room” movie “arsenal” by the Kendrick brothers.

This year our Conference President has asked that everything during “the dash” between last year’s Conference and this year’s be undergirded with prayer. One way is a “Conference Prayer Room” on the Conference Facebook page. Another way is in a special, prayerful “100 Days” countdown to Conference, which begins on April 22. There will be a list of many aspects to pray for during this time pertaining to the people and program related to Conference week. Stay tuned!

Our President has also asked that the week itself be bathed in prayer: day in and day out during our sessions. To do this, there will be a special prayer room, a “war room” of sorts, directly below the sanctuary, where scheduled times of prayer will take place, as well as spontaneous times. A prayer “wall,” where ongoing needs and current answers can be written down, prayed over and praised for, will be available in this room. Inspiring books and videos will be on hand for any who want to make use of this place of prayer while we are there. Get ready!


As an inspiring launch into Conference Week, Sunday evening will feature a showing of the movie “War Room” after the evening service. Make plans!


It has been said that God will do nothing “great” until He first sets His people to pray. Let’s pray now — let’s pray during Conference week — and watch God do what only He can do!

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