The Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” —Genesis 4:9-10
Yes, you are your brother’s keeper. The essence of being a Christian is a relationship—a personal, one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ. And Jesus calls us to “love one another”—even our enemies (John 13:34; Matthew 5:44-45). So being a Christian also involves relationships with all other human beings—for all are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27).
Relationship takes time. They take energy; they take commitment; they involve risk. Relationships can bring incredible blessings; they can also bring excruciating pain. God has experienced all of these in his relationship with each one of us.
The same can happen to you as you take the step of sharing the gospel—the good news of Jesus—with your neighbors. I’m not going to sugarcoat this one. If you want to involve yourself in one of the greatest experiences of the Christian life—realizing that the Spirit of Christ has used you in some significant way to make an impact on one of your neighbors for the Lord for eternity—it will cost you.
All relationships involve a healthy investment. As you begin to make such an investment, it’s critical that you place yourself in the hands of the God who promises to walk alongside you. Place yourself in the hands of the one who has already made the ultimate investment in your life and in the life of your neighbor.
It’s important to know that your neighbor is a person of inestimable value. Your neighbor matters to God. Your neighbor is precious to Christ, who was willing to sacrifice his own life for him or her. If that’s how valuable your neighbor is to God, if he or she matters that much to God, then you and I need to make the commitment to treat that neighbor with love and sensitivity. If God loves your neighbor that much, then the time, the energy, the joy, and even the possible pain or discomfort of developing a relationship with that neighbor is a small price for you to pay.
Think about being a channel of God’s love to your neighbor. Think about being an instrument God can use to reveal himself to your neighbor. Ask God today to help you pray for, care for, and share with your neighbor, entering into relationship for Jesus’ sake. God wants to do amazing things through you. Are you ready?
Prayer Starters for Praying Genesis 4:9-10
- Praise God for loving you as a person of inestimable value.
- Thank him for the people in your life who have considered you their brother or sister in the Lord.
- Confess to God any ways in which you have ignored the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people whom he considers to be your brothers and sisters. Ask God to forgive you for these shortcomings.
- Ask God to bring to your mind the name of anyone in your relational circle (family, neighborhood, classmates, co-workers) whom he desires to adopt into his family, as your spiritual brother or sister. When God brings names to your mind, write them down and begin praying for them.
- Ask God to help you view each of your neighbors as a person of inestimable value.
–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God, who is majestic in holiness (Ex. 15:11). Give thanks for the privilege of sharing in his holiness (Heb. 12:10). Confess any impure thoughts or actions that remained unconfessed. Commit yourself anew to living the holy life that God has called you to live (1 Thess. 4:7). Ask God to impress upon you the vision of Isaiah: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6:3).
Pray that your loved ones will be drawn closer to God as they see your example of holy living.