Blog: Prayer, Evangelism, Discipleship – Are They Separate?

Filipino church members pray for lost friends in preparation for an evangelism project in their community.

Prayer, evangelism, and discipleship – the heartbeat of International Commission. These three very biblical principles are evident in the life of Jesus and in His followers, and as His followers, why would we not follow that same model?

Many believers view these as separate entities, but looking at the life of Jesus, one could not be present without the others and vice versa. Oftentimes, we see them in churches today as separate, and when that happens, we are dangerously missing out on a vital part of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus’ ministry was so focused on the equipping of the 12 apostles, which included prayer, evangelism, and discipleship, that He could not afford to neglect any one of them. Without the prayer, He would’ve neglected abiding in the Father. Without evangelism and proclamation of the Kingdom, the entirety of the good news would’ve been missed. Jesus came to this earth to save people from their sins and telling others this news is evangelism. Without discipleship, there would have been no continuation of the Great Commission task. If Jesus had gone to everyone and proclaimed the gospel but neglected discipling, they would’ve strayed away as sheep do. We see after the feeding of five thousand that people are prone to wander when things get difficult. All but the 12 men left, with Peter himself saying, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life,” (John 6). Peter said this because he was living in discipleship with the Messiah.

We also know from the Old Testament that without discipleship and constant help, people go astray. The people of Israel were on a roller coaster of following God and running away from Him. Without discipleship, it’s so easy to either 1.) be stagnant in spiritual growth or 2.) go away from Jesus altogether. Now, evangelism and discipleship without prayer would be ignoring the power of the Holy Spirit. When we pray, we are placing trust in the Lord to do the work, petitioning on our own behalf and on the behalf of others, and worshipping God as He deserves. In Luke, we see that “During those days He [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God.” If Jesus Himself spent personal time with God the Father, how much more do we need prayer and personal time with Him?

All three – beautiful, messy, glorious, and humbling – all must be together and must be a part of what we as believers and followers of Jesus are doing. Let’s not neglect any of them, or how will this Great Commission ever be completed?

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