“Stan,” I said one morning, “you know that part in Matthew’s gospel where Jesus taught the disciples how to pray?”
“I do,” he replied. “What about it?”
“Well,” I said, “it seems that some people call that the ‘Lord’s Prayer,’ some call it the ‘Our Father,’ and some call it the ‘Disciples’ Prayer.’ Do you think it matters?”
“Matters what it’s called?” Stan asked. “Not in the least. What’s important is that Jesus was teaching His disciples about how to pray. However, I do have something that I think is important about having a different kind of a disciple’s prayer, one that I pray regularly for myself.”
“A different kind of disciple’s prayer? I said. “What’s that?”
“Praying to be a disciple,” Stan replied. “Praying that I will be open to all that God has for me to be as I embrace the steps of being a disciple.”
“You really think it’s necessary to pray about that?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” Stan exclaimed. “I believe that if I don’t ask God to help me in getting myself out of His way by denying self, if I don’t pray for the willingness to take up what He has for me to take up, and if I don’t pray for the desire to follow Him wherever, whenever, and however He wants to lead, I don’t think it’s going to happen all by itself.”
“Any particular reason for that?” I asked.
“As we’ve talked about before,” Stan replied, “I think it all hinges on a single, very small word.”
“What word is that?”
“If,” Stan replied. “Jesus said that ‘if’ I want to be His disciple there are certain things I need to do. And I know that I need all of the help God has for me in all things, but especially this. That’s the reason I pray what I call a different disciple’s prayer—a prayer to be a disciple.”
“And how often do you pray that?” I asked.
“It’s a constant prayer,” Stan replied, “because I’m always in need of all of the help God can provide!”
Bible verses to consider:
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24.
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:38.
And He (Jesus) was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to choose to be a disciple by denying myself, taking up what you have for me to take up, and by following you wherever, however, and whenever you want to lead. I confess that too often I do not choose to be a disciple because I choose to do what I want to do apart from you. I pray that you will help me with all of the help you have available so I am open to being the disciple you have for me to be. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Before people can be a disciple they have to choose to accept by faith God’s provision of salvation and redemption. Have you done the first part so you know you are going to spend eternity in God’s presence? If no, why? What’s in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing in being a disciple on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense you are not the disciple you are intended to be, and changes are in order, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not? Some people think that all Christians are disciples. Do you agree with that? Why or why not?