“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
God’s power is activated in a community through the gospel – the “good news” of salvation through Jesus Christ. Many people in our nation either have never heard or simply do not understand the good news of what Christ has done for them. Prayer can change that.
A husband and wife, having prayed for their neighbors for a long time with no apparent results, asked their whole church to pray for them on a certain day. On that very day the unchurched neighbor, seeing his neighbor outside, stopped while backing his car out of the driveway, hailed the neighbor who had been praying, and said, “Say, my wife and I have been thinking about going to church. I notice you go to church. Could we go with you?” Prayer was the reason for this neighbor’s request.
Each year, members of the Georgian Hills Baptist Church submit the names of friends, relatives, and acquaintances who do not know Christ so that the church’s evangelism prayer team can pray for them. The prayer team first receives training in intercession and then meets weekly to intercede earnestly for the persons whose names have been submitted. In a recent year the intercession team began the year praying for ninety-five persons. By year’s end eighty-eight of the ninety-five had heard the good news and had come to Christ. Prayer made the difference in their lives.
Neighborhood-based prayer ministries make it possible for people to hear the gospel by word of mouth right in their own neighborhood. David McFarland conducted a survey of eighty-six Canadian churches that were effective in evangelism. Seventy-eight percent of the pastors said “word of mouth” was the most effective method for reaching non-Christians. Word of mouth works best in neighborhoods or workplaces with people who know each other.
Sit back a moment and try to imagine the power of prayer, the power of caring, and the power of sharing the gospel pervading your neighborhood or workplace. Imagine the blessings of God raining down on your neighborhood like a gentle spring shower. Imagine families enjoying their togetherness. Imagine hearts responding to the gospel. Imagine “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2). This is possible. It’s already happening where faithful House of Prayer intercessors are praying, caring, and sharing the good news. It could happen in your neighborhood, too.
Loving Father, You care about every person on this planet and You desire that Your Son be made famous through the prayers and caring acts of people like me. Show me how to reflect this great love of Yours to others so that Jesus is made known to them. I long to see Your blessings raining down in my neighborhood and in my workplace so that people everywhere can live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Prepare me, Lord…and use me for Your purposes.
–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.
Express your love and admiration for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thank the Father for his love, Christ for his grace, and the Holy Spirit for his fellowship. Confess any unresponsiveness to the Father’s love, the Savior’s grace, and the Holy Spirit’s inner working. Commit yourself to loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Ask that you may become a temple of the living God so that he will live in you, walk with you, and be your God (2 Cor. 6:16).
Pray for a congregation whose members are bound by love to each other and willing to say “I am sorry; please forgive me.” Pray that the Spirit may mold your congregation into a loving, redemptive fellowship.
***START THE NEW YEAR WITH PRAYER UNIVERSITY! Harvest Prayer Ministries has just launched video courses which you can purchase and watch at your convenience! Great resource for individuals, small groups or entire congregations! Each course comes with study questions or a study guide. We will be adding many more courses (video and webinar) over the next few months! Click here for more information.
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