In Contagious Disciple Making David Watson wrote this stunning description of disciple makers,
“In a meeting of the top 100 disciple makers in our ministry, we looked for common elements among these high producing leaders. Each of these disciple-makers, along with the teams they led, started more than twenty churches per year. One group started more than five hundred churches in the previous year. We found many common elements among the different groups, but the only element that was present in every team was a high commitment to prayer.
These leaders spent an average of three hours per day in personal prayer. They spent another three hours in prayer with their teams every day. These leaders were not full-time religious leaders. In fact, most of them had regular jobs. They started their days at 4:00 a.m. and by 10:00 a.m were at work.
These top performers also spent one day per week in fasting and prayer. The whole team spent one weekend per month in fasting and prayer..
As we started looking at Disciple-Making Movements worldwide, we made a critical observation: a prayer movement precedes every Disciple-Making Movement.”
There are two sides to catalyzing a prayer movement. First, we must become people of prayer. Second, we need to mobilize people to pray.” – Contagious Disciple Making, 79
Where to start?
I don’t think we necessarily need to prescribe three hours of prayer a day but I do think it is wise to extend the amount of time we pray each day. Not only did Jesus model constant prayer. Paul instructed us to “pray continually.”
How does one do that?
There are a few ways to go about it.
1 – Have a set list of things you pray about daily. Here is mine. This usually takes about 30 minutes a day.
2 – Have a conversation with God throughout your day as if he is right there with you (because he is…even IN you via the Spirit!). In that book they talk about talking to God about everything…even watching a movie and asking God what He liked about what was in the movie!
3 – Liturgical prayers: pray the psalms, pray the book of common prayer, pray through the Valley of Vision. Praying liturgical prayers often puts words to our inmost feelings that we often don’t have the verbiage to express.
4 – The Prayer Wheel. This is a way to pray over 12 topics for 5 minutes each (1 hour total).
We aren’t looking for a new legalism.
We are looking for hearts that are so connected with God that praying all the time is normal and natural. We are looking for hearts so surrendered to God that we realize our deep, profound need for him every minute of the day and in every decision we make and conversation we have! As our lives are shaped by the work of the Spirit in conjunction with our faith and following…our prayers will increase. And we can help others do the same.
As we find ourselves more and more in the trenches of ministry, we will recognize our need to call out to God for help/empowerment and wisdom. We cannot do this without Him!
Thanks for reading! What have you found helpful to pray more often?
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Matt, I am excited to learn how DMM can help our church get interested in outreach. I was wanting to develop a Discovery Bible Study approach Ala Spent Matches but in a recent Bobby Harrington post he said it is not working here as is other countries as Americans are not in tune with obedience. Now I am stuck as I don’t want to start something that will likely fail.