“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” —John 4:29
At the center of any good relationship is an accepting spirit. All of us have our funny little tendencies and flaws. All of us have rough edges. All of us have habits that can be irritating.
Your neighbors may not always be the easiest people to have a relationship with. They may be engaged in habits that offend you. They may have made choices that you would never have made. They may not live with the same values or follow the same rules. They may not discipline their children in a way you respect. Maybe they play their stereo at ear-breaking volumes. Maybe they use cooking spices that permeate the apartment complex. Or perhaps they are committed to a religious stance that is totally opposed to Jesus Christ. Worse yet, they may be completely hostile and openly judgmental of your life and your commitment to Christ.
Jesus accepts each of us exactly where we are. In his conversation with the woman at Jacob’s well in our Scripture for today, he talked with her about her current relationship and her previous marriages. (See John 4:1- 4.) He didn’t condemn her on the spot. He treated her with respect as a human being. But having done that, Jesus also worked with her to bring her to a better place in life and into a life-changing relationship with him.
God’s goal, and our goal with him, is to do whatever is possible to bring our neighbor into a personal relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord. But, please, as you develop a relationship with your neighbor, do so with an accepting spirit. Accept your neighbors as human beings who, like yourself, have funny little tendencies and flaws, some rough edges, and some irritating habits. Beginning your relationship with words of judgment or corrections won’t enhance the work of the Spirit in their lives or your involvement with them.
Once they come to know Christ, they will join you in submitting themselves to the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in their lives. They will begin to become more and more like Jesus as the Spirit works in their hearts, making them pure and holy. Leave that work to the Spirit. Your responsibility is to provide them a safe, accepting, and nonjudgmental relationship. The greatest blessing you can bring into your neighbor’s life is the blessing of acceptance and love—God’s love.
Prayer Starters for Praying John 4:29
- Praise God, who is perfect, for his ability to accept us in love even “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).
- Thank God for accepting you.
- Celebrate with God his ability to love the unlovable, accept the unacceptable, and forgive the sinner.
- Ask God to help you develop a more accepting spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to grow in you the fruit of the Spirit, especially in your relationships with neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and others who may be different from you.
–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 the One who sits upon his throne, supreme in power and authority. Give thanks that the Almighty is your Father in Jesus Christ. Confess your own hardness of heart and disobedience against God’s authority over you. Commit yourself to God so that you “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Rom. 6:12). Ask God to help you endure, so that you may reign with Christ (2 Tim. 2:12).
At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11). Pray that your unsaved friends will bend their knees to Jesus now and confess him as Lord.
“Prayer moves the hand that moves the world.” —John Aikman Wallace