The only Biblical record of Jesus spending all night in prayer was the night before he chose his successors. He designated them "Apostles."
Jesus' Method of Disciple Making
Neil Cole notes that during his earthly ministry, Jesus invested in five distinct social groupings: 1) an inner circle composed of Peter, James and John 2) a spiritual family of twelve apostles 3) a team of 72 whom he personally equipped and sent 4) a network of 120 who gathered in the upper room 5) the multitudes he taught, healed and fed.
We would think that if Jesus only had three short years to minister, he should spend most of his time holding big events - influencing the most people possible. However, since Jesus knew that these men would be his successors, he invested the greatest amount of time with the smallest groupings (#1 & #2).
He knew that less is more. It was best to invest in a few - who would then "make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19)
Model of Biblical Leaders and Spiritual Reproduction
In II Timothy 2:2 Paul reminded Timothy of the very same principle. He said, "The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." Paul gives Timothy a vision of succession.
Specifically, this vision spans four spiritual generations.
The faith is passed from:
Christ to Paul
Paul to Timothy
Timothy to reliable men
Reliable men to others
This vision is one of natural spiritual reproduction: make disciples who can make disciples.
"Mature Christians are made one by one through the influence of other Christians already mature." --
The Principle of Multiplying
At first, this approach may seem a little slow, but the theory is like the old question: "Would you rather have $100,000 today. . . or one penny, doubled everyday for a month? One cent, doubled everyday for 31 days is over ten million dollars!
Our Lord wants
that are devoted to doubling. . . then doubling again. . . and again. The vision is not to be a church that maintains itself, but to be a church that