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Think Young!

Follow Jesus' Model in Mentoring Praying Leaders

By David Chotka

leader header.jpgThey were all quite young by our standards. Jesus chose disciples who were just getting started in life. He picked 12 18- to 24-year-olds and trained them for two of His three-year ministry. Then, 11 of those 12 disciples went on to transform the inhabited world with His teaching—empowered by His Spirit and employing the same method of discipleship.

At the root of everything Jesus did was His prayer life. Jesus deliberately prayed before He acted. In fact, John’s Gospel tells us that He could do nothing unless the Father showed Him (Jn. 5:19, 30). After a night of prayer, the Father revealed to Jesus His leadership core—and they were young (Lk. 6:12-13). 

The 12 young disciples were so intrigued by the prayer life of Jesus that they asked Him to teach them how He did it (Lk. 11:1). They had seen prayer before, but never with the powerful results of Jesus’ prayer. He raised the dead, healed the sick, taught unearthly truth, and was transfigured before their eyes.

Earth-changing Strategy

Jesus’ discipling strategy was simple. What did He do? He picked teenagers and young adults, and taught them to pray and obey like Him.

This was a vital, dynamic prayer of encounter. This was prayer that clearly heard the voice of God, discerned the action of God, and then entered into it, accomplishing wonders to the astonishment of all. In fact, Jesus refused to act unless He had a clear, direct leading, a command from God for every action.

He did not merely speak to God, but He heard God, interacting with Him back and forth until the fellowship (and/or the assignment) was complete. Jesus taught the Twelve to do this.

He mentored young Peter to hear the voice of God—and obey. (The conversations between Jesus and Peter are some of the most instructive and warmly human accounts we have from the Gospels.)

Jesus also brought three young adults with Him to learn together. Peter, James, and John were there when He prayed to raise a little girl from the dead. When Jesus prayed about His future, talked with Moses and Elijah, and was transfigured, those three disciples were witnesses. And they were there when He prayed in death-anguish in Gethsemane. Even in grief, He taught them to pray like He did.

And He worked with nine more “20-somethings” in the same way. Then there were 58 others in the group called “the 70,” who also followed Him. Jesus required them to watch and learn and do as He did. Then He sent them out two by two to practice what they had learned.

Most of Jesus’ time was given over to instructing teenagers and young adults. God sent His Son to spend enormous amounts of His time with this age group during His ministry. By doing this, He gave them (and us) a method that can be easily replicated.

Here it is:

  • Develop your prayer life to hear God (without this step, none of the others apply).
  • Ask the Lord to lead you to teenagers and young adults who can learn to hear the Lord with you.
  • Mentor one, three, and 12 at a time in how you hear and obey the Lord.
  • Hear and obey God in front of them.
  • Send them out to do the same, and then report the results back to you.
  • Celebrate the successes, correct the failures. Laugh together.
  • Instruct them to find one, three, and 12 others to disciple.
  • Then start over again yourself with a new group.


Think Younger

As a prayer leader, are you struggling to get people to join together in prayer? Maybe you need to think younger. Ask the Lord to show you some teens or college-aged adults in your church and pour yourself into training them to pray effectively.

That was Jesus’ method. We would be wise to imitate it.

Frontcover.jpgDAVID CHOTKA is lead pastor of Heritage Park Alliance Church in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and the director of Alliance Pray! Team, the national prayer mobilization team of the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Canada. David is also the author of Power Praying: Hearing Jesus' Spirit by Praying Jesus' Prayer, a Bible study on the Lord's Prayer that we highly recommend using to mentor others in their prayer lives. This article is taken from Prayer Connect magazine, Issue 2


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