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Prayer and the Making of Disciples

Follow-up on evangelism must include prayer. Prayer support of new believers is vitally important, whether at home or abroad.


The transformation that Christ brings happens from the inside out. He re-shapes and re-aligns the way we think about God, the way we relate to others and the way we make decisions and choices. This is the essence of growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as He makes us into His disciples. Spiritual maturity occurs through this process, and it is at the core a work of God in us, not a work for God by us.

… our commitment to provide ways for people to draw closer to the Lord continues after people have initially opened their hearts …

Everyone whose heart has been drawn by the Spirit of God and captured by the Gospel of Christ must then learn how to live in harmony with the principles of God's kingdom. The values of His realm are radically different from those of this world; and we can rightly describe them as counter-culture values. They are counter to the prevailing concepts of the humanistic, rationalistic world in which we live. And, as the Word teaches us, we are in the world but not of the world, and we must not be shaped by its forces. God's power at work in us must so convert everything within us that we reflect the values and priorities of God's kingdom. As the apostle Paul says in Romans 12, disciples should not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.

In the ministry of Every Home for Christ International (EHC) we are committed to reaching people where they live with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to emphasize the continuing influence of the Gospel. This means that our commitment to provide ways for people to draw closer to the Lord continues after people have initially opened their hearts to the message of salvation. A commitment to discipleship is as critical as a commitment to evangelism because transformation is a life-long process.

In making disciples, a very important part of the follow-up is in prayer. The ongoing prayer support of new believers is vitally important because of the spiritual nature of the battle they will face. The apostle Paul interceded for believers, praying that Christ would be formed in them (see Galatians 4:19). Paul's co-labourer, Epaphras, was also devoted to prayer for new Christians, always wrestling in prayer so that they might stand firm in the will of God, mature and fully assured in the faith (see Colossians 4:12).

In Ephesians 4 we read that Paul prayed that Christians would live a life worthy of the calling they have received. This simply means that he prayed for God Himself to help them live up to His calling and grow in all the things that please Him. On several occasions, Paul mentions in his letters that the enemy seeks to deceive God's children and uses clever schemes against them. Paul's instruction to believers is to stand firm in their faith. We can draw helpful counsel from these words of Paul as we remember to pray for believers everywhere, especially new believers, that by the grace and mercy of God they will be able to stand firm against the devil's schemes. Following the example of Paul in Colossians 1:11, we pray that they would be strengthened with all power, according to God's glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience.

New converts, especially, must be sustained by the faithful prayers of other believers. That was certainly my experience. When I became a Christian, others prayed that I would be able to understand the will of God and stand firm in it regardless of the lingering influence of former values. Perhaps you could give a similar testimony. If this was important for us, how much more it is for new Christians who live in places of the world where the Gospel and the kingdom of God are under constant assault?

In our efforts to follow up with new believers in their decision to follow Christ, we urge you to pray for them often. For countless believers, it will make a world of difference.

Jacqueline Dugas is Director of the Centre for Prayer Mobilization of Every Home for Christ International/Canada (EHC). For more information visit www.ehc.ca.

Originally published in Harvest Partner, March 2004.
www.ehc.ca

 

 
 
 
 

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