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Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The Disciple Abides: Prayer & Fellowship
Prayer is one of the foundational disciplines of a disciple. In John 15:4 Jesus tells his disciples “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” When the disciples said to Jesus, “Lord teach us how to pray,” it was because they knew that he was a man of profound devotion and prayer. They walked with him and talked with him. But perhaps more importantly for our study, they saw that he was a true man of prayer.
Pray like Jesus
Jesus is the primary example for prayer to his disciples. The Gospels tell us Jesus prayed at every major event in his life: his baptism (Luke 3:21); the choice of apostles (6:12-12); his transfiguration (9:29); before the cross at Gethsemane (22:39-40); and on the cross (23:46). And he continues in prayer for us. Hebrews 7:27 says, “He always lives to make intercessions for them.” He sets the example for us to follow.
Disciples are to follow Jesus’ example of prayer. Prayer is personal communion with the living God. It refers to the greatest privilege a Christian can have—access to God himself. Through prayer, disciples become intimate with the Lord.
There are several keys to personal prayer. First, seek God with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:10-14). Second, schedule a daily prayer time. The important thing is to be consistent. Third, choose a private place to pray. A prayer closet could be anywhere, as long as it is private. Limit distractions. Last, the best way to learn how to pray is to do it!
A disciple is devoted to fellowship
When reading the book of Acts, we can see that the life of the early church revolved around fellowship. Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Fellowship is an intimate union in which Christians share. This is not just friendship, but also the deep bond that only Christians can know as the family of God. At the heart of the word for fellowship is the idea of participation together. The Christian life is living together in community with Christ and one another. The cultivation of fellowship is very important in living the Christian life.
Two are better than one
The Bible says that it is not good to be alone, and that two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9). God made us for community and right relationship with others. Martin Luther said, "God has created man for fellowship, and not for solitariness." Disciples of Christ need one another to live for God in the world.
Fellowship is one of the main ways disciples grow in the Lord.
God has given believers the blessing of fellowship to provide a place for spiritual growth, intimacy, accountability, and protection. The church is a place where fellowship happens. It is not a building; it is the family of God and the body of Christ. The church is a spiritual family that supports and encourages believers. Through true fellowship, disciples experience and share the love of God with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Disciples also take part in discipling others through the blessing of fellowship.