A House of Prayer, besides involving an entire church, can also be a cluster of two or more believers banded together to pray for, care about, and share the blessings of Christ with those who live or work nearby. You can pray alone, but why not join together with one or more believers—your spouse, your family, believing neighbors, or fellow employees—and form a House of Prayer?
Why should I pray for my neighbors?
Your neighbors matter to God. They are precious sons and daughters whom he loves. God grieves over those who are apart from him and wants them to return “home.” Prayer will move them toward the Father, and heaven will rejoice when they come home (Luke 15:7, 11-24). Also, God commands that “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.” “Everyone” includes your neighbors who God wants “to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). And, as you bless others, you too will be blessed.
Can I do more than pray?
Yes! Make yourself available to God, and he will lead you into ministries of caring and sharing. You’ll have a threefold impact. By praying, you’ll release God’s grace into people’s lives. By caring, you’ll build bridges of love to them. By sharing the gospel, you’ll help people come to know Jesus Christ and be saved.
Will my prayers really make a difference?
Yes! When we pray, God works! The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous [person] is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). All of the power in prayer is God’s power, but God has chosen to have this power directed to persons and places through our prayers. Things will happen as you pray that won’t happen if you don’t pray.
In Michigan, for example, House of Prayer members reported that in the neighborhoods they prayed for, people got out of drugs, unemployed people got jobs, a father stopped drinking, two persons were miraculously healed, a person was delivered from an evil spirit, a Bible study began, and five persons came to know Christ.
After a Mississippi church formed Houses of Prayer, the pastor reported, “When we began our Houses of Prayer, almost immediately we saw people begin to come to church who hadn’t been in church for years. We see new faces almost every week. Our attendance in Sunday school has increased by forty percent, and worship attendance by 30 percent. The presence of God is evident weekly.”
How should I pray?
Always pray with a clean heart. The prayers of the righteous are “powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Pray with compassion. Be like Christ, who was moved with compassion toward the needy (Matthew 9:36). Pray with persistence. God listens to those who pray earnestly (Acts 12:5; James 5:17).
How do I start?
Start by saying yes to God. Pray a commitment prayer like this: “God, I know that my neighbors matter very much to you and that you have commanded me to make ‘requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving’ for them. So, out of obedience to you and out of love for my neighbors, I commit myself to ask for your blessings for them for five minutes a day, five days a week, for the next five weeks. I’ll do this, with your help, to the best of my ability. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
–Adapted from Shine His Light: A Simple Way to Pray, Care and Share Jesus in Your Neighborhood by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God, whose kindness toward you will last forever and ever. Thank God for loving you with an everlasting love and drawing you with lovingkindness (Jer. 31:3). Confess any ways in which you have not reflected that kindness to others. Commit yourself to considering God’s kindness to you (Rom. 11:22). Ask God to clothe you with compassion, kindness, and humility (Col. 3:12).
Pray that you might have an opportunity this week to tell someone of the many kindnesses of the Lord to you (Isa. 63:7).