I have been convicted over my need to pray specifically and routinely for my men. I have complied a list of requests we can make to God on their behalf. If acrostics help, then D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.S can guide your time in your prayer closets for the next generation.
Discipleship is all about time. Ministry is mainly time because truth is more caught, than taught. Jesus demonstrated his investment of time in two main ways: his daily time and his devotional time. He gave both away to his disciples. In Mark 3:14 it says that Jesus appointed the twelve “so that they would be with them.” Sure, he would send them out, but the time of his everyday routine life was required to mould and make them ready to be sent on mission.
But this was not the only time he gave his men. He poured time in talking to His Heavenly Father about them. His specific requests for them and for their future disciples is recorded clearly in John 17, but his prayer time habits were also a discipline of his life when he was “rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark…and went out to desolate places to pray” (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16).
Depend in Jesus and trust the gospel!
Discipleship starts even before conversion. We are loving and laboring even in the lives of the lost. We first disciple them to Jesus and then disciple them in Jesus. But regardless our prayer should to be that the gospel of their salvation is forever sweet and just as satisfying as they day they first believed.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Imitate godly mentors in their life.
My prayer is that they will continue (even long past me) to follow and and imitate men and women who have worthy and emulative lives. That they would never grow out of or lose sight of the need for discipleship.
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:7-8 ESV
Share the gospel
Discipleship become a full reality when disciples make other disciples. But disciples cannot be made unless the gospel is shared. As they follow Jesus might He make them into fishers of men?
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 10:13-15 ESV
Confess sin to God and men.
Sin drives us to our Savior like none other. I want my men to seize the opportunity that sin affords and need Jesus more and more and not run from Him in fear. He is a safe and calls the sin-laden to come as they are. May our disciples learn that repentance and confession fixes our eyes on Jesus often and increasingly and testifies to the greatness of our gracious God before men.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 ESV
Increase in humility & holiness
John the Baptist said it well, "He must increase, I must decrease" (John 3:30). When Jesus increases in our disciples lives it gives way to humility and holiness. The presence of Jesus causes us to lose awareness of self and causes us to want more and more the conformity of Christ. Jesus causes our focus to shift from inward and outward to upward.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
Pray fervently and faithfully
To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a follower of Jesus. And part of following Jesus is to follow His practice and pattern of prayer. He took time to pray and taught his men to pray (Matthew 6:9-13). He, by his death and resurrection, has torn the curtain in two and opened an unimpeded fast track of communication with the Father. If the prayer of the "Christ-infused" righteous avails much (James 5:16), then might our disciples prayer time reﬂect the power and privilege of what the cross has accomplished.
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Matthew 21:22 ESV
Love like they have been loved
Jesus said, "They will know you are mine by your love for one another." No one loves like our Lord and may our Lord's unconditional and full love be ever so evident in the unconditional and unending love our disciples show forth to spouses, children, family, friends, and the unbelieving. They must love, because He ﬁrst loved them.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:10-11 ESV
Establish and Equip others to follow Jesus and become ﬁshers of men
We, like Jesus, long for more leaders and laborers in the harvest ﬁeld. It is plentiful, but the laborers are indeed few (Matthew 9:35-37). Since the sheep her harassed, helpless, and shepherd-less we ask God to multiply his name and mission through the lives of our disciples. We long to take immense joy in generations of spiritual children who are walking in the truth.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4 ESV
Spirit-ﬁlled in behaviour and decision-making
"Greater is He who is in the world than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4) May God's good deposit conﬁrm their inheritance, shape their behaviour, and inform their decisions. How we would long for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to mark their lives and so ﬁll them that the rottenness of the world would lose all taste and temptation.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 ESV)