“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.” —1 Peter 3:12
You may already have noticed that when you make the commitment to pray for your neighbor, the Holy Spirit develops the desire within you to care for your neighbor. When you make yourself available to God, he will take you up on your offer. So, please, for Jesus’ sake and your neighbor’s sake, be alert. Follow God’s example. Keep your eyes and ears open, attentive, and ready to respond.
Relationships with your neighbors can be based on a variety of things. Be alert to how the Spirit may open doors for you to grow in your relationship with your neighbor. Keep your eyes and ears open, not in an intrusive or nosy way, but in a way that reflects the concern of Jesus for each individual. Look for small and seemingly insignificant ways in which you can serve your neighbors.
Don’t make a big deal out of the things you do. Your neighbors may not even notice at first, but that doesn’t matter. God notices. For example, when you drag your trash barrel back up the driveway, maybe you could drag your neighbor’s barrel up too. If a stray newspaper is caught in your neighbor’s shrubbery, pick it up. Also be alert to ways in which the Holy Spirit will open up ways for you to engage in conversation and service.
Edith Bajema tells this story: “Years ago I lived on the sixth floor of a high-rise apartment building in southeast Denver. My neighbor, Vera, was an elderly woman. During the four years that I was her neighbor, I never observed anyone coming to visit. Her life seemed to center around three outings a day—in the morning, in Mid-afternoon, and late in the evening—when she would take a walk with her pet schnauzer, Otto. One day I realized that I had missed Vera and Otto. So I wrote a note that simply said, “I’ve missed you and Otto. Is everything okay?” and taped it to her apartment door. That evening, when I returned home, there was a note taped on my front door. It read, “I didn’t think anyone would notice. Otto is dead.”
It didn’t take a lot of intelligence for me to realize that my neighbor was suffering from a deflated self-image and grief. I took the elevator back downstairs, walked across the street to the bakery, and bought a half dozen cookies. I returned to Vera’s front door and knocked. “How about making me some tea?” I asked. That night Vera and I shared tea and cookies. We also shared our stories, and she cried softly but deeply as she shared how much she missed Otto.
That conversation helped lead into a friendship between Vera and me. Vera isn’t a Christian . . . yet. But throughout the years her Christmas cards have changed from those with little dogs wearing holiday bows to cards with a spiritual hint to them. And Vera keeps asking questions about my church and my relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit is working in Vera’s life, and I know that someday she’s going to take that critical step into her Lord’s open arms. Be alert to what’s happening with your neighbors. When God opens a door, walk through it.”
Prayer Starters for Praying 1 Peter 3:12
- Praise God for the amazing truth that he is concerned about even the mundane and insignificant things that happen in our lives. Nothing we bring to him is too small for his attention and concern.
- Thank God that he has promised not only to listen but also to be thoughtfully attentive to all your prayers.
- Ask God to sharpen your spiritual sight and hearing to the needs and concerns of your neighbor.
–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.
Read Psalm 108 and praise the Lord, whose love is higher than the heavens and whose faithfulness reaches to the skies. Give thanks for specific acts of faithfulness to you so far this week. Confess any unfaithfulness which has robbed God of his glory. Commit yourself to praising God among the nations (108:3). Ask him to show you the nations in our cities and around the globe.
Pray that everyone will see clearly that human strength cannot win the battle for peoples’ hearts (108:12-13). Ask God to gain the victory over spiritual enemies that bind the unsaved.