By God’s grace, we are working to create a culture of discipleship at Calvary Bible Church. We believe discipleship is something that takes place not just within the formal programs and ministries of the church, but also informally, as people eat together in homes, talk over coffee, serve alongside each other, and work to meet each other’s needs.
One of the ways we encourage this is by exhorting the body to pray for each other with each other, so that prayers are being prayed for people while the one praying is standing right next to them. How is this part of the discipleship process? There are a few different reasons why we do this. First, we believe that God answers prayers, and second, we know how easy it is to tell someone you’ll pray for them and then forget. But I think there is another element to this that is particularly important to discipleship. When you hear another person pray you are getting a glimpse into their relationship with God and this can be instructive, moving, convicting, encouraging, and downright inspiring.
I learned how to pray by hearing others pray, and in fact, I’m still learning how to pray by hearing others pray. Perhaps, more than any other experience I have with Christians, hearing them pray draws me nearer to God. Why? I think it’s because a person’s prayers gives flesh bones and to their theology. I hear what they truly believe; what promises they’re clinging to, what attributes of God they are banking on, and what facets of the gospel they are cherishing. When I hear a person pray I understand more how doctrine should translate into my communion with God.
Isn’t this what see in the Psalms over and over again? God lets us gaze into the heart of a man as he stands with sure footing on his theology to praise and plead with his God, as with David in Psalm 4:1:
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O Church, you may think that you have no significant ministry to other believers because you do not serve formally in a ministry program. Or you may think that the most significant things you do in ministry are the things you do that have an official title attached to them. Please do not neglect to pray for people out loud in their presence as a means of discipleship. It is more valuable than you think.