Kavanah is one of the key words we Cadre missionaries use often.
It’s a Hebrew word that helps us understand how God empowers us to live as disciplemakers. In its simplest form, kavanah means “to aim.” In disciplemaking, it describes the place where my disciplined actions meet God’s active presence in my life.
If disciplemaking is about following Jesus together, every day, we need his power to do it. And kavanah helps us see how.
We find the roots of Kavanah in the Babylonian Talmud. Berakoth 32b says, “Our Rabbis taught: Four things require to be done with kavanah, namely, [study of] the Torah, good deeds [loving others and showing kindness], praying always, and one’s worldly occupation.”
Kavanah is how we hit the bullseye as a disciple. It enables us to be filled up by Jesus, anticipating what God is going to do in us, through us and around us.
We practice these disciplines, depending on the help of the Holy Spirit to hit the kavanah bullseye:
1. Studying God’s Word to connect with him share what we’re learning about him. 2. Prayerfulness 3. Loving others as an overflow of God’s extravagant love for us. 4. Living a life that’s worship, as we work, play and invest in our friends and family.
As we study, pray, love and live together, we hit the bullseye as disciples who makes disciples, who make disciples.
Hitting the bullseye together
In 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, Paul explains this to his friends:
“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 12 Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Paul reminds his friends they aren’t left on their own to follow Jesus. He is praying that God will enable them to live out their life with Jesus as they walk each day. Paul clearly expresses the kavanah bullseye: God will help you (enable, empower, prompt) to live with him and with each other in the way he desires, the way Jesus described in Acts 1:8:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Remember, Acts 1:8 isn’t a missionary verse. It’s a disciplemaking promise for every follower of Jesus.
Kavanah describes hitting the bullseye of God’s target for your life. God’s power and presence guide the flight of the arrow. Words like enable, empower, and prompt are beautiful pictures of the way God guides our lives toward his target: us living a disciplemaking life, for his glory!
This life includes walking in step with friends as we support one another in following Jesus. When Paul says to “to live a life worthy of his call,” he expects the Thessalonians will already understand what he means by a worthy life.
To live a life worthy of God’s call, we’ve got to following Jesus with friends, in the kavanah power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
When did you last sense God’s prompting…and obey?
How can you walk in God’s power today to make disciples with your family and friends?