Your context and culture are being formed by your beliefs. Your beliefs also form an operating system for your behaviors. And your behaviors display if the operating system is in line with the truth of the gospel or not. So, how do we build a gospel-informed operating system?

In our disciple-making work, we build a gospel operating system with four key questions asked in this order: 

  1. Who is God?
  2. What has God done (especially in and through Jesus Christ)?
  3. Who are we?
  4. What do we do?

The first three questions are indicatives: what is true no matter what we do. The last one is an imperative: what we do because of what is true.

The order is very important. We don’t start with what we do. We start with who God is and how God has revealed Himself to us through what He has done in and through Jesus. This leads to our gospel-informed being (gospel identity). We are who we are not because of what we do but because of what God has done in and through Jesus. The world reverses this order and tells us we are what we do. The gospel corrects this reversal by putting the emphasis back on who God is and what God does to form who we are.

This gospel operating system has many applications. One of those applications is a gospel-informed framework for prayer. Using the questions, we can equip disciples in how to pray. Pick a passage of Scripture and use the four questions to shape your prayer time. 

We start with Adoration (Who is God?), praising God for who He is. 

Then, we move to Thanksgiving (What has God done?), thanking Him for what He has done in Jesus. 

Next, Confession (Who are we?), confessing the truth about who we are as well as how we struggle to believe it. 

Lastly, we pray prayers of Supplication (What do we do?), asking God for the will and power to obey what He wants us to do. 

Using Mark 4:35-41, the story of Jesus calming the storm, we might pray:

  1. Who is God (Adoration)? God, you have power over all things in our lives. We praise you as the Almighty God.
  2. What has God done (Thanksgiving)? God, you have overcome the greatest storm of sin and death through Jesus. We thank you for bringing your power to calm our storms.
  3. Who are we (Confession)? God, we believe that we are not alone in the boat, even though we, like the disciples, often forget and give in to fear. You have made us your dwelling place and you will never leave us. 
  4. What do we do (Supplication)? God, we need you to help us believe and surrender our fears about the storms we are going through to you. Build our faith and bring calm to our storms.

Give this simple tool a try this next week with your family or your disciple-making community and see how it helps to lay a framework for knowing and living from our gospel identity.

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