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The Endorsed Prayers for making disciples are prayers for unity, salvation, sending workers into the harvest, opening doors for the Gospel, spreading God's word and words for witnessing. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Yoke of Christ
This subchapter contains the prayers for making disciples. Jesus said that making disciples is easy. It is. We repeat the words of the Father and pray. This chapter contains the prayers.
- Jesus said Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."Matthew11:28-30
The yoke of Christ is the work of disciple making. All Christians are called to do this, and receive supernatural rest. Its easy. An in depth study of this topic was presented in subchapter 2.3, "The Easy Yoke of Christ". More on the subject is in subchapter 4.9, "Pass the Faith". If you doubt that all Christians are supposed to make disciples, read the subchapter titled, "Is Every Christian Supposed to Make Disciples?" Its A5 in the appendix. By the way, the answer is yes.
The following prayers are about making disciples in obedience to the command to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). In these scriptures we see that God chooses whom to send, when to send them, which doors to open and what words we speak. God is sovereign! He does these things in response to our prayers. He does them within the chain of authority that He has established.
It's easy if we follow the two step example of the apostles: We repeat the words of our Father and pray. After you read the disciple making prayers below, I will present the acrostic HOW SO. It provides an easy way to remember the most essential of these prayers.
Here are the prayers...
Endorsed Prayer: Send workers into the harvest! 4.4a
- "Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:38).
In Matthew 9:38. Jesus told the disciples to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest. To send laborers into the harvest is to send workers to make disciples. Then in the next verse, Jesus summoned the twelve disciples and sent them (See Matthew 10:1-5).
It is noteworthy that Jesus told them to ask God to send workers before He sent them. We don't send ourselves. God chooses whom to send. He also decides when to send them. As we pray the above prayer, we are acknowledging that God initiates this process. We are acknowledging His authority. The remaining prayers in this section acknowledge that God performs each remaining step in the disciple making process.
In Luke 6:12-13, Jesus spent the entire night in prayer before He chose the twelve apostles. "In these days, he went out to the mountain to pray, and he continued all night in prayer to God. 13 When it was day, he called his disciples, and from them he chose twelve, whom he also named apostles:"
So, prolonged conversation between the Son and the Father preceded the choosing of "whom" to send. If Jesus prayed before making the choice of whom to send, shouldn't we? It is an arrogance against God to think that we can make such choices without prayer.
To attempt to make disciples without prayer is tantamount to saying "Jesus and the Apostles prayed, but I don't need to. I can figure it out on my own." Not only is this arrogant. It is an insult to God.
John 13-17 records the Upper Room Discourse which occurred just before His arrest and crucifixion. In that conversation, Jesus completed His earthly training of the apostles before they were to "Go and make disciples of all nations". Jesus said, "You didn't choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you" (John 15:16).
So, those whom were chosen did not choose to be disciple makers. It is the same with us. God has decided that all of His children are to make disciples. In Matthew 9:38, we see that, after choosing "whom" to send, God chooses "when" to send them. We are to acknowledge this authority by asking God to send laborers. In the example of Matthew 9:38, after they were instructed to ask God to send laborers, Jesus sent them.
I will often ask God to send a laborer to harvest a particular person. God will send one of His choosing. He has many on His team to choose from.
Are you on His team? Are you supposed to pray the prayer of the harvest? I will repeat the scripture for the prayer of the harvest. Jesus said "Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:38).
Some may say that since Matthew 9:38 is in one of the four Gospels, it therefore was spoken to Israel and only applies to an Israelite... To that theology of man which is contrary to the working of the Holy Spirit I say... Look to the words of Jesus at the very end of Matthew: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:19). His commands apply to all nations, not just Israel. Yes, all of God's children, today are supposed to pray that prayer!
Jesus commanded the disciples to pray the prayer of the harvest in Matthew 9:38. Then, in Matthew 28:19, Jesus told the disciples to teach all nations to follow all of the commands of Jesus, one of which was Matthew 9:38, the command to pray the prayer of the harvest. So, all believers should pray the Endorsed Prayer of the Harvest.
All Christians are disciples and all disciples are supposed to make disciples. This is clearly revealed, from the scriptures, in subchapter A5 in the appendix titled, "Is Every Christian Supposed to Make Disciples?". Its easy. That subchapter explains how to make disciples.
So, I prayerfully admonish you to take just a moment to pray the prayer of the harvest.
(Pause for prayer)
(Pause for prayer)
Endorsed Prayer: Give us words to explain the Gospel! 4.4b
- "praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints: 19 on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News" (Ephesians 6:18-19).
My prayerful observations regarding this great passage were presented in micro-subchapter 4.2b, under the first category of prayer, "Prayers for Spiritual Communication". So, you have read about this passage as it relates to spiritual communication. I will repeat those observations here almost verbatim, so that you may consider them in connection with the divine yoke of disciple making.
I believe that this is the single most important passage in the Bible, for being an effective worker in God's kingdom. It deserves weeks, if not months of prayerful meditation.
This is the end of Paul's famous instructions regarding spiritual warfare, which began in verse 10. From verse 10, Paul described armor to take into spiritual battles. Prayer is not armor. Prayer is the warfare itself, using the armor described. The pieces of armor represent truth, righteousness, readiness to speak the gospel, faith, salvation and God's word. In the text above, only two pieces of armor are listed, a helmet and a sword. They represent the awareness of salvation and God's word respectively. He said to take them all, with prayer.
That is the background for the above passage. Here is the point regarding making disciples through prayer: Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him "that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News". The word "utterance" is a translation of the Greek word "logos", meaning word. Some translations render logos as "words" in this passage.
Paul asked God to put words into his mind!
Why did Paul need God to put words into his mind, so that he could explain the Gospel? Paul knew the gospel better than anyone alive. He wrote half of the books of the New Testament. He was taken up into the Third Heaven in Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:1-6), and taught the gospel directly by the risen Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12).
Paul knew that knowing the truth is not enough to deliver the gospel effectively. We must know truth. But Paul knew that we must ask God to give us His words, speak the words He gives us by faith, and then let the Holy Spirit work supernaturally in those hearts whom God has prepared in advance to hear (Acts 17:26,27).
The Holy Spirit within the believer actually preaches the gospel, through Christians (1 Peter 1:12).
How great an arrogance it is to think that we can explain the Gospel on our own, when Paul knew that he needed to ask God to give him the words!
This is how we explain the message of eternal life to an unbeliever. This is how we present words of spiritual growth to a brother or sister in Christ. This is how we encourage others in tragedy! This is how we take up the yoke of Christ! This is how we make disciples of all nations!
So, we should ask God to give us words. If we believe that He will give us words through our prayer, He will. If we don't, He won't (James 1:6, 7; micro-subchapter 4.2a). If we have doubts, we should ask God to increase our faith.
Endorsed Prayer: Open a door for your word! 4.4c
- "Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving, 3 praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds, 4 that I may reveal it as I ought to speak" (Colossians 4:2-4).
We are to do three things. We are to be "steadfast in prayer", "watch in it" and pray "that God may open to us a door" for us to repeat "the word" of the Father. Laymen can do this. You don't need a seminary degree to do this. I don't have a seminary degree and I can do this. The best way to reveal these truths is by way of a real life example.
A relative of mine told me that she was afraid of dying. I asked if she was afraid of the suffering of physical death or if she was afraid of what was going to happen to her after her death. She said, "I'm afraid of what is going to happen after I die." I shared the Gospel with her (Ephesians 2:8 which says "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works"). I also bought her a modern translation of the Bible. She couldn't understand her old translation. She began to read the Bible. She wanted to read it all before she died.
About a year later, she was in the hospital dying. Although I had known her for decades and seen her often, I did not know if she was a Christian. I viewed her as good, honest, enjoyable, kind and responsible person. Instead of calling her by her real name, I'll call her "Olivia".
As I drove to the hospital, I prayed that God would "open a door for the word" and give me the words of the Gospel (Ephesians 6:18-19). I told my Lord that I would wait for Him to open the door for His word. I would not force the conversation into spiritual things. In this way I was "steadfast in prayer". I was committed to "watching in it".
I talked with my relative in the hospital for about half an hour. She was upbeat and the conversation was not naturally moving to spiritual things. Silently, in my spirit, I said to my Lord, "I guess you are not going to open a door now." In this way I was watching in prayer. But, I had not seen a door open for the word.
A moment later, she suddenly began to cry. She said that she had called her minister and that he had come. The Holy Spirit had moved in her spirit, just as scripture says that He will (micro-subchapter 3.1h).
I asked her if she would like for me to read some scripture. She said, "Yes". I read a paragraph from the second chapter of Ephesians, and then asked her if she understood it. She said, "No". Then I read one short passage to her. I read Ephesians 2:8-9: "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast".
In this way, I had repeated the words of the Father. Then I asked her if she understood the passage. With a great joy she said, "Oh yes. I understand! I understand!" She was full of joy. I knew in my spirit that she belonged to him. I don't know exactly when she came to know God.
But the purpose of this section is to describe how God opens a door for the word. God chooses the time and the way to "open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ". He does this through the Holy Spirit.
Endorsed Prayer: Make us one! 4.4d
- Jesus prayed for the disciples, "20 Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me" (John 17:20-21).
Before Passover, just before Jesus was arrested and crucified, Jesus had a long conversation with His disciples in what is called The Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17). The above quote is from chapter seventeen. The entire chapter is a prayer of Jesus to the Father about the disciples.
In His time on the earth, Jesus trained twelve men in the spiritual work of making disciples. In this prayer, Jesus refers to them forty times. He even prayed for you. Observe the words "Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who will believe in me through their word" in verse 20. The words of the Father have been passed from person to person for two thousand years, until they came to you. You have believed "through their word".
The prayer is for unity among believers... "that they may all be one" (v 21). One purpose of this unity is "that the world may believe that you sent me" (v 21). When the world sees the miracle of true unity, it will be a sign to them. It will be a sign that Jesus was sent by God the Father. So, the prayer for unity among believers is a prayer of evangelism!
In John 13:35 Jesus said, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
I have seen the miraculous unity among Christians that crosses racial, cultural and economic boundaries. In my church I regularly see the homeless and the surgeon worship together. In the small Bible Study / Prayer group that I lead, we will have the wealthy and the poor, young and old, different races... sharing our life struggles, praying, encouraging, reading scripture together. The same spirit is within each of us.
So, pray for unity among believers... among acquaintances, family, church, workplace and nation. Pray that the world would see, and believe.
Endorsed Prayer: Save those who have rejected you! 4.4e
- "Brothers, my heart's desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved" (Romans 10:1).
In this passage, the apostle Paul is referring to his prayers for his own countrymen. Israel had rejected Christ. Many, but not all Jews rejected him. The controlling leadership of Israel did not believe.
When we encounter those who reject Christ, we are to pray for them. What shall we pray? Pray the Endorsed Prayers regarding disciple making. Ask God to send workers into the harvest. Ask God to give the workers the words to explain the gospel. Ask God to open a door for the word. Ask God to make us one. God draws souls to Him according to the Conversion Corridor (micro-subchapter 3.1h).
Endorsed Prayer: Save the world's rulers, that we may have tranquility! 4.4f
- "I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks be made for all men: 2 for kings and all who are in high places, that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
We are to pray for the salvation of all men... from the powerful to the powerless. This scripture appears to have been written during the reign of Nero, one of the most wicked rulers of all time. He tortured Christians for entertainment. So, the child of God prays for the eternal salvation of the lost, whether they be friend or enemy. The desired effect of these prayers is salvation for the lost and tranquility for the child of God. God draws souls to Him according to the Conversion Corridor (micro-subchapter 3.1h).
Endorsed Prayer: Bless my enemy! 4.4g
- "But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27-28).
We are to pray for our enemies... that they be saved as in the prior passage. We pray for those who hate us.
Jesus spoke these words of life to "you who hear". Everyone doesn't hear. Who hears? Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). Those who follow Jesus, pray this prayer to save the lost, because that is what Jesus is doing in the present tense. He is drawing men to himself to save the lost. We can't follow Him if we aren't doing what He is doing. This is described in greater detail in subchapter 2.3, "The Easy Yoke of Christ."
Endorsed Prayer: Spread your word! 4.4h
- "Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified" (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
The prayer is for the apostles who are spreading scripture. These are not man's words or spiritual systems that they are sowing. They are God's words. The easy two step method of making disciples is here in this verse. We repeat the words of the Father and pray.
Prayer Acrostic: HOW SO
How do we pray for the salvation of the lost? The acrostic HOW SO answers this question.
Each of the five letters in the acrostic H.O.W. S.O. represents the main idea behind each of the five prayers.
Here are the prayers:
H: Send workers into the Harvest.
O: Open Doors for the word.
W: Give us Words for sharing the Gospel.
S: Make your word Spread rapidly.
O: Make us One.
The disciple making prayers in this subchapter 4.4 show that God chooses who to send, when to send them, which doors to open and what words we speak. He grants us unity to verify our message, as we spread scripture! See 4.4a, a, c, b, d and h respectively.
He does these things in response to our prayers. A detailed study of the who, what, when, why and how of God's choosings are presented in "When God Chooses" in the Appendix (A6). If you are wondering if all Christians are supposed to make disciples, see "Is Every Christian Supposed to Make Disciples?" in the Appendix (A5).
The acrostic HOW SO is explained in greater detail in subchapter 4.10 titled "The Conversion Prayer Corridor: HOW SO." This acrostic provides an easy way to remember and practice many of the disciple making prayers.
In the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor at the beginning of World War 11, much of the US Navy was destroyed. US pilots were trained so quickly that they were not quite as good at navigation as they needed to be. As our planes flew from California to Hawaii, the planes were having trouble finding Hawaii. The trip was so long that if their navigation was off just a tiny bit, they would be far enough off course that they couldn't find Hawaii. The planes would run out of gas and crash into the ocean.
So, the US Navy placed Beacon Ships from California, all the way to Hawaii. If you drew a line from California to Hawaii, there was a Beacon Ship every four hundred miles along that line. Radio had a range of two hundred miles, so the pilots could maintain radio contact at all times along the journey.
My father was on one of those Beacon Ships. Now the Navy was short of ships after the attack on Pearl Harbor. So, they commandeered Errol Flynn's yacht. Errol Flynn was a famous actor in those days. His boat was a large, wind powered sailing yacht with three masts.
Out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the thirteen men on that Beacon Ship were nearly defenseless. After all, they were on a yacht. The boat was equipped only with a small machine gun. The officers had pistols. The enlisted men made spears. Their primary concern was Japanese submarines. The boat was so small that a sub probably wouldn't even waste a torpedo on them. The sub would probably machine gun the yacht and then board it.
The Pacific Ocean is a dangerous place for a small wind powered vessel. They were thousands of miles from land. Death came to them from the sea, not the Japanese.
The task of the Beacon Ship was to stay still. They were to maintain a certain longitude and latitude. My father was an Engineering Officer in a small crew of about thirteen men. He navigated with a sextant to maintain their assigned location under the stars.
As planes flew from Beacon Ship to Beacon Ship from California to Hawaii, Dad would communicate with the navigators on the planes to correct their course.
The Beacon Ship was a very small but necessary cog in the United States war machine. By doing their small part, the pilots were able to reach Hawaii without running out of gas and crashing into the ocean.
Making Disciples: A Group Effort
My father and the thirteen men who served during World War 11 on that wind powered Beacon Ship were just one part of a huge and powerful group effort. Each person did his or her part. No one can perform every function. It is the same with making disciples. We as disciple makers are Beacon Ships. We are not the answer. We point the way to the answer. We point to him... to God himself.
My father's ship was powered by three sails. It was a sailboat. In the New Testament the word for wind in the original language is the Greek word "pneuma". But pneuma also means "spirit". Context determines whether pneuma is translated as "wind" or as "spirit". While my fathers ship was powered by wind, we are powered by the Holy Spirit. My point is this: Disciple making is a group effort powered by the Holy Spirit. But instead of communicating with the Holy Spirit by radio, we communicate through prayer and the word of God. As you read the Endorsed Prayers for making disciples below, you will see group effort in the prayers.
Group Discussion Questions
Please prayerfully answer the following questions.
1) What is the two step method of making disciples employed by the disciples?
2) Will God put words or ideas into your mind to help you make disciples?
3) If God puts words into our minds and we speak them are we repeating the words of the Father?