Last month we laid the groundwork for praying for the mission at SMPC.
This month we will continue our look at how to pray.
Praying specifically for people
Pray for people by name (pick 3-5 people you know who are unchurched,
either those not meaningfully attached to or involved in a church, or people who are churched but do not yet understand the Gospel). Make up a prayer list.
Ask God to use you to sitenstrate His love.
Ask God to build relationships. Pray for God to help you be a loving and loyal friend regardless of the response. Love people just because they are image bearers. Pray for God to help you learn from them (Mt 22:37-40). Pray for humility.
Ask God to show you ways to meet real needs (Mt 22:37-40).
Ask God for opportunities to witness.
Ask that they would seek God in prayer.
Ask that they would seek God in Scripture.
Ask that they would seek God in fellowship.
Pray for God to make them keenly aware of their need for Him, i.e. a conviction of sin, incompleteness, the emptiness of chasing false gods, etc. (Is 55:1-7)
Pray that people’s life-theories would be challenged by reality.
Pray that people would see their gods fail them.
Pray that people would call out to God (Ps 86:5)
Pray that people would be willing to doubt/question their world view.
Pray that God would use us to convey a winsome representation of Christ, that we would be instruments to help make Christ and Christianity and the Church attractive to people (Pr 3:3-4).
Pray that we would earn the right to be heard by sitenstrating humility and respect.
Ask God for that beautiful but rare combination of love and boldness. (See Jesus)
Ask God to open your neighbor’s spiritual eyes (2 Co 4:4).
Ask God to free them from spiritual captivity (2 Ti 2:25-26).
Ask God to give them ears to hear (Mt 13:15), faith to believe (Ac 20:21), and the will to respond (Ro 10:9).
Ask God to beautify Jesus in their eyes (2 Co 4:6).
Ask God to send others in their life to witness Christ to them (Mt 9:38).
Ask God for an opportunity to invite them to a local church worship service, outreach, home Bible study or social event (Jn 4:28-42; 1:39-45, Mt 22:37-40).
Pray that people would ask questions.
Pray for wisdom about what you should pray.
Praying for opportunities to minister to people
Stop and ask, “Who are the people in my spheres of influence?” Examples of your sphere of influence are: your workplace, neighborhood, people you meet through friends, your gym, your children’s schools and extracurricular activities (get to know the children and their parents), professional and social organizations you are in, coffee shops, family, people you meet while using your leisure time, people in any place you frequent, etc.
Stop and open your eyes so that you are keenly aware of the ministry turn in which God has placed you. You do not need to go looking for ministry opportunities “out there” until you have first understood the fact that you are to be salt and light where God has planted you.
One thing we know for sure, God wants us to spread the Gospel in our spheres of influence by fleshing out the love of Christ by being men and women of integrity, by letting the Spirit apply the Gospel to our hearts so that we are being conformed to Christ’s likeness and applying the Gospel to every area of our work, by not acting like we have it all together (let people see us repent of sins, be approachable, be able to be confronted without being destroyed, be able to confront without trying to destroy, be able to forgive and be forgiven without residual anger, be able to deal with difficult people compassionately without being a doormat), by sharing the Gospel message with people (over time, in the context of relationship, compassionately and humbly entertaining their doubts and questions, bringing them to social and church functions, getting them to a study, sharing the Gospel with them yourself).
Ask God to make the people of God a winsome community of faith which attracts unbelievers (Ps 67, 1 Pe 2:9-10, Ac 2:41-47).
Love people with no demand for their love in return.
Treat people as image bearers of God—show people a respect for their dignity.
Get into their world. Build bridges where you can. Jesus was called a drunkard and a friend of sinners. Obviously our Savior was never intemperate but He reached out to people right where they were without any compromise to His integrity. We must be people of integrity who show people that the Gospel is changing us broken sinners, and we must reach people without placing demands on them.
Love people long term.
Meet people’s practical needs—always have open ears and eyes so that you are displaying thoughtfulness in the little things as well as the big things.
Be there for people when some “crisis” comes—some moment of shakedown where you can incarnate (flesh out) the love of Christ in such a way that you “act out the drama of the Gospel.” In other words, the message that you’ve been trying to convey is now being displayed for them as you love them freely.
Seek to learn from people. Yes, there is much to learn from non-Christians.
Learn to be a good listener to people. Earn the right to be heard.
Invite people into your home. Home is a great place to depict love for people.
Speak to people on their terms. Don’t use Christian jargon and Christian habits that are unfamiliar to unbelievers. This never means you are to compromise a matter of conscience or disobey a clear command of Scripture, but rather trying to reach people where they are.
Next month: Our vision for the City of Las Vegas