Discipleship and Prayer
Lesson #3 for January 18, 2014
Let the workers grasp the promises of God, saying, “Thou hast promised, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ I must have this soul converted to Jesus Christ.” Solicit prayer for the souls for whom you labor; present them before the church as objects for the supplication. It will be just what the church needs, to have their minds called from their little, petty difficulties, to feel a great burden, a personal interest, for a soul that is ready to perish. Select another and still another soul, daily seeking guidance from God, laying everything before Him in earnest prayer, and working in divine wisdom.—Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, pp. 244, 245.
Through nature and revelation, through His providence, and by the influence of His Spirit, God speaks to us. But these are not enough; we need also to pour out our hearts to Him. In order to have spiritual life and energy, we must have actual intercourse with our heavenly Father. Our minds may be drawn out toward Him; we may meditate upon His works, His mercies, His blessings; but this is not, in theclass="Section3">
fullest sense, communing with Him. In order to commune with God, we must have something to say to Him concerning our actual life.
Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.—Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 93.1,2.
This proverbial expression dates from the early 19th century, although versions of it that paraphrased the same thought existed well before then.
The first of these alternate versions is found in a biography of Marcus Aurelius by Jeremy Collier and André Dacier, titled Emperor Marcus Antoninus his conversation with himself, 1708:
You should consider that Imitation is the most acceptable part of Worship, and that the Gods had much rather Mankind should Resemble, than Flatter them.
A nearer stab at the current version comes in the English newspaper The Spectator in 1776, written by Joseph Addison and others, 1776:
Imitation is a kind of artless flattery.
The ... [fullest expression] as far as this proverb is concerned was given by Charles Caleb Colton, in Lacon: or, Many things in few words, 1820:
Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.
http:www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery.html as of December 2, 2013.
The disciples prayed with intense earnestness for a fitness to meet men and in their daily intercourse to speak words that would lead sinners to Christ. Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship. They drew nearer and nearer to God, and as they did this they realized what a privilege had been theirs in being permitted to associate so closely with Christ. Sadness filled their hearts as they thought of how many times they had grieved Him by their slowness of comprehension, their failure to understand the lessons that, for their good, He was trying to teach them.
These days of preparation were days of deep heart searching. The disciples felt their spiritual need and cried to the Lord for the holy unction that was to fit them for the work of soul saving. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely. They were weighted with the burden of the salvation of souls. They realized that the gospel was to be carried to the world, and they claimed the power that Christ had promised.—Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles 37.1,2.
He who does nothing but pray will soon cease to pray, or his prayers will become a formal routine. When men take themselves out of social life, away from the sphere of Christian duty and cross bearing; when they cease to work earnestly for the Master, who worked earnestly for them, they lose the subject matter of prayer and have no incentive to devotion. Their prayers become personal and selfish. They cannot pray in regard to the wants of humanity or the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom, pleading for strength wherewith to work.—Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 101.
© 2013, Kenneth Hart, MD, MA, MPH. Permission is hereby granted for any noncommercial use of these materials. Free distribution is encouraged. It is our goal to see them spread as widely and freely as possible. If you would like to use them for your class or even make copies of portions of them, feel free to do so. We always enjoy hearing about how you might be using the materials, and we might even want to share good ideas with others. So, let us know how you are using them. [email protected]
Last Modified: December 8, 2013
Lesson 1: Disciples and Scripture
58:30:00 | Jan. 04, 2014
Lesson 2: Discipling Through Metaphor
58:30:00 | Jan. 11, 2014
Lesson 4: Discipling Children
58:30:00 | Jan. 25, 2014
Lesson 5: Discipling the Sick
58:30:00 | Feb. 01, 2014
Lesson 6: Discipling the "Ordinary"
58:30:00 | Feb. 08, 2014
Lesson 7: Jesus and the Social Outcasts
58:30:00 | Feb. 15, 2014
Lesson 8: With the Rich and Famous
58:30:00 | Feb. 22, 2014
Lesson 9: Discipling the Powerful
58:30:00 | Mar. 01, 2014
Lesson 10: Discipling the Nations
58:30:00 | Mar. 08, 2014
Lesson 11: Discipling Spiritual Leaders
58:30:00 | Mar. 15, 2014
Lesson 12: The Harvest and the Harvesters
58:30:00 | Mar. 22, 2014
Lesson 13: The Cost of Discipleship
58:30:00 | Mar. 29, 2014
Lesson 8: Seeing the Invisible
58:30 | Aug. 20, 2022
Lesson 7: Indestructible Hope
58:30 | Aug. 13, 2022
Lesson 6: Struggling with All Energy
56:30 | Aug. 06, 2022
Lesson 5: Extreme Heat
58:30 | Jul. 30, 2022
Lesson 4: Seeing the Goldsmith's Face
58:30 | Jul. 23, 2022
Lesson 3: The Birdcage
58:30 | Jul. 16, 2022
Lesson 2: The Crucibles That Come
58:30 | Jul. 09, 2022
Lesson 1: The Shepherd's Crucible
58:30 | Jul. 02, 2022
Lesson 13: Israel in Egypt
58:30 | Jun. 25, 2022
Lesson 12: Joseph, Prince of Egypt
58:30 | Jun. 18, 2022
Lesson 11: Joseph, Master of Dreams
58:30 | Jun. 11, 2022
Lesson 10: Jacob-Israel
58:30 | Jun. 04, 2022
Lesson 9: Jacob the Supplanter
58:30 | May. 28, 2022