2 things churches must do to see success on a plate!
Prayer and evangelism are like burger and fries, writes Mark Greenwood.
Have you ever had one of those moments in your life when you can’t believe you’ve missed the obvious?
A number of years ago I was looking at all the resources that I had available to churches to help them with their evangelism when suddenly I became aware of my lack of equipping about prayer in evangelism.
In one sense I was annoyed and surprised that I had missed this and yet on reflection, it wasn’t just true of my ‘professional’ ministry life; if I am really honest there’s a bit of a lack of it in my personal life. That’s not because I don’t love God or don’t feel the need for his power, it’s more the case that I am someone whose default setting is to ‘do’.
I’m not using this as an excuse, neither am I holding this up as an example, I’m just simply saying this is me. I constantly fight the challenge of the ‘Be still and know that I am God’ and the ‘get up because there are lots to do’.
Whilst sometimes my prayer life can be a bit crazy in terms of rhythm, I do believe that if we pray we see a greater impact. There is a lot I don’t understand about prayer but what I do know is that it works.
Prayer and evangelism, my friend once said, go together like burger and fries – in other words, they are best served together.
So how can prayer increase in greater partnership with personal and local church evangelism?
Pray for more workers Matthew 9:35-36 says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
I was reminded recently that it’s ‘the Lord of the harvest’ we pray to. This encouraged me in my ongoing journey of reminding myself that it is God who brings in the harvest and not me. It’s a good place to start. Here are some thoughts around prayer and evangelism you might want to consider:
Pray for more fruit
“Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’ Paul replied, ‘Short time or long – I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains,’” (Acts 26).
I’ve heard many people say the Scripture never teaches us to pray for people to come to Christ. For me, this is a pretty clear example. What I love about this example is that Paul is committed to praying for them to come to faith however long it takes them to do so. Let’s remember that a person’s faith journey can be a long one, so it’s important to celebrate the movements along the way.
Pray for people
Here’s a little challenge for you. Next time you meet someone who isn’t a Christian and they share a need with you, why don’t you ask them if there is anything you can do for them, offer to pray for them there and then, and then do something to show you care. It’s lovely when people feel something of God as you pray for them.
Prayer walking, talking and caring
I was chatting to my colleague Gary just a few days before writing this article.
He told me that in one of our Elim churches where the church has seen real blessing there is prayer-walking. I’m not sure what you think about when you hear the phrase ‘prayer-walking’ but I have to say I imagine some serious intercession, pausing at certain strategic points and intensifying the warfare.
I’m not saying that this isn’t important but what this church does is to prayer walk and talk and care. They do things like picking up litter and talking to people as well as praying for them. I am inspired by this and I know the church has seen this work to good effect.
If you wanted to use prayer as a means of reaching out to people then why not use the national #trypraying as an outreach tool. The website address is trypraying.co.uk. It’s a great way of helping those who don’t know God.
Would you join with me to increase your prayer as I increase mine? Let’s make our daily devotion more meaningful as we pray for those who don’t know God.
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