I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting (I Timothy 2:8).
Let us define the word “disciple” — particularly “disciple of Christ.” A disciple is one who follows, learns from, and is devoted to one who is a teacher and a leader. However, a disciple does not become a disciple in an instant. There is a process involved.
Often we are “product” oriented. We like the finished product, but we don’t want to go through the process. The process can be tough, but the process of becoming a disciple is quite rewarding. Disciples are made because of the ongoing process. One component of this disciple-making process is prayer. Let us look more closely at this necessary element of discipleship.
In Matthew 6:6-7, we find these words from Jesus: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Prayer isn’t about who notices us. Prayer isn’t about how much we talk. Prayer is about spending time with our Father who will make it apparent to this world that we have spent time with Him.
We live in a fast-paced, rat race society. Prayer teaches us to do something we are not accustomed to doing: waiting. While waiting on the Lord to answer in His time and His way, strengthening and lifting takes place. Isaiah 40:31 says it beautifully, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” In waiting, we turn to God and His ability and away from ourselves and our ability.
Prayer helps us avoid the “High Anxiety” lifestyle that is prevalent today. Jesus’ invitation from Matthew 11 still stands, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This is our privilege to draw away from all of the chaos and lay our concerns at His feet.
Finally, in prayer we really get to know God. Psalm 27:8 says, “When thou sadist, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord will I seek.” Notice, we don’t just seek His hand — what He can do for us. We seek His face in order to really know Him. In order to know someone, you have to talk to them. Obviously, it is no different when it comes to knowing God.
So, if we want to be disciples, we need to embrace the process. It takes time and prayer. In fact it takes a lifetime of continuing the process.
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.