Prayer: Part of a Disciple’s Spiritual DNA

Just how important is prayer to the life of a disciple of Jesus? Is it a part of your spiritual DNA?

As followers of Jesus, we talk a lot about prayer. As a matter of fact, if you search amazon.com for books on prayer, you’ll find more than 80,000 options—an indication that a lot of people consider prayer important.

Of course the Bible has a thing or two to say about prayer. Prayer—in one form or another—is mentioned more than 500 times throughout Scripture. Jesus modeled prayer—both privately and publicly. It was something He practiced before making major decisions (such as before selecting His disciples) and when He faced the most monumental challenge of his ministry (His death by crucifixion).

Jesus also repeatedly taught His disciples how to pray. He used parables, and personal example, in addition to giving them the model of what we’ve come to call “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament feature the prayers of people we consider heroes of the faith: David, Moses, Abraham, Peter, and Paul. We have recorded examples—not just that they prayed, but what they prayed.

And yet, prayer is perhaps the one spiritual discipline that many of us seem to struggle with the most. And perhaps some of that struggle comes from the fact that we have relegated prayer to the status of a “spiritual discipline.” But we could easily argue that prayer is not simply something that a disciple of Christ does—it is part of his or her life. Prayer is part of a disciple’s spiritual “DNA.”

Prayer is part of The Navigators DNA as well. It’s always been one of the basic elements Navigators emphasize in discipleship training. It’s no accident that prayer is one of the spokes in the well-known (and well-used) Wheel illustration that Navigators have used for decades to communicate the essentials of a disciple’s life.

What Navigators do—where and how we minister—is the result of countless hours spent in prayer, seeking God and listening to His leading. The Navigators founder, Dawson Trotman, was legendary for his prayer discipline—retreating to the hills with his Bible and a map of the world to pray that God would use Navigator-trained disciples to reach the world.

As you read through this issue of Disciple! we hope you sense that prayer is not merely a discipline to master or an activity to do, but that it’s an essential part of a disciple’s life—a part of his or her spiritual DNA!

three people reading Bibles

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