Recently I was visiting a local community college campus. I had made it a habit recently to begin praying dependently as I step onto our campuses.
This day was no different. I simply prayed that God would work on this campus on this day. I prayed that God would guide my steps and my interactions, give me words and do what He willed through me.
As God does so often, He surprised me by opening a door to conversation and using me to share the Gospel and encourage a fellow believer.
That ministry fruit was all about God’s work and guidance and not about my giftedness. It was God’s good work, not mine.
Sadly, it was a lesson that has often taken me a long time to learn.
In reading the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, I have discovered something very obvious and profound about what the prayers of the disciples who make disciples should look like.
Two verses of the Lord’s Prayer point the disciple-maker to boldly dependent praying in our evangelistic and disciple-making efforts.
We know that the mission of the disciple-maker is to make disciples who make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20, Acts 1:8, 2 Tim. 2:2).
However, we must actively pursue that mission in prayer as we depend fully on God for that work. What does this boldly dependent praying look like in our lives? Jesus models it for us.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” (v. 9)
Jesus begins at the beginning — with God. He is ruler and king. He is over everything. Everything is about him. We exist for his glory. We are on a mission for his glory. We are saved and evangelize for his glory. It’s all about Him!
He also acknowledges that God is in Heaven. God sits on His throne and is the ruling power of everything. He rules and reigns in His kingdom from heaven.
Jesus reminds us that God (the creator and ruler of all) is not some idol or god who is able to be manipulated or formed to the desires of humanity. This is God the Father, creator God and ruler God. He doesn’t exist for us, we exist for Him!
Jesus also ascribes holiness to God. God is not us. He is not common. He is not a little, powerless god made by the hands of men. God is “set apart” from us in His existence, purity, perfection and power.
God is creator, sustainer, and ruler of all; He alone has that power and rule. God should be revered by us in our prayers — respected and honored.
Jesus models dependent prayer that recognizes that God alone has the rule and power. He alone is hallowed, holy and set-apart.
Jesus paints a picture of God as wholly sufficient and us as wholly insufficient. God is completely independent (He doesn’t depend on us), and we are completely dependent on Him.
If we are bringing our prayers to God, it is important that we recognize Him as creator, sustainer, and ruler because the creator, sustainer, and ruler is the one who will give fruit, yield and increase.
If you have opportunities to speak the Gospel, those opportunities come from God’s hand.
If we have the words to speak when given opportunities to share the Gospel, those words come from God.
If people are open to the Gospel, it is because God worked in their hearts.
If they respond to the Gospel in faith, it is because God worked in their lives through the Holy Spirit bringing conviction, pointing to Jesus and drawing them to faith.
Therefore, the disciple maker must come to God depending upon Him and rely completely on His initiative and work.
We pray that He will open the spiritual eyes of the lost. I can’t open their eyes. You cannot convert them. God can.
The disciple maker comes before God placing himself under God’s rule and reign, depending on Him to work. That is boldly dependent prayer.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (v.10)
Many times our prayers look like a Christmas list for Santa. We often fall into this trap when we pray prayers that place us at the center instead of God when we pray prayers that further our personal agenda instead of God’s mission and when we tell God how things are going to be instead of receiving and deferring to Him.
Jesus reminds us about the proper posture of prayer (dependence), the desired outcome of prayer (His Kingdom) and the source of this outcome (His rule in heaven). The disciple maker approaches God depending upon God to carry out His agenda and not ours.
The disciple maker should come to God totally dependent on His working in the lives of others. We depend on Him to draw them to Himself. We depend on God to open doors. We depend on God to give us the words to speak. We depend on God to give us boldness. We depend on Him to order our steps and give us words.
The disciple maker is in complete dependence on God and His work. God is the one who saves, not us. God is the one who delivers us from the domain of darkness to Christ’s kingdom. That is His work, not ours.
That means that we leave our personal agenda out of the conversation. We don’t come to God asking Him to give our plans His approval.
We come seeking His plan and move in obedience to Him. We don’t come telling God how great our plans and dreams are. We come realizing our plans and dreams are insufficient and we seek His sufficient plan.
We don’t come to God so locked into our plans and opinions so that we rigidly oppose what God wants to do in and through us.
Instead, we bring our insufficiency. We confess that we cannot do anything without Him. We confess that we don’t have what it takes to bring people to Him. We open up our insufficiency to God and receive of His incredible work in our world.
The dependent disciple maker sits before God in a receiving posture. We come before God with empty hands, open to receiving of Him and His provision, receiving of His kingdom. We come before God receiving the work He will do instead of coming to Him informing Him of all that we are doing for Him.
This is a boldly dependent prayer for the disciple maker. This posture of dependence in prayer helps us rest from worry and self-reliance as disciple makers.
We are called to go and make disciples. Dependent prayer turns us to God, His work, His fruitfulness and His kingdom instead of our own.
That’s where I want to live. I want to live in this place of dependence on God, seeing Him work, and open doors and give words of bold gospel proclamation.
God has proven Himself to us time again; He has done incredible things, is doing incredible things and will do incredible things in our world.
We can depend on Him.