Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Annie Chapman and Heidi Chapman Beall's book, Entertaining Angels: Stories and Ideas for Opening Your Heart and Home, (Harvest House Publishers, 2009).

God calls every believer to practice hospitality. No matter how many people you know or how large your home is, you can learn how to open your heart and home to others regardless of your personality or circumstances.

When you serve other people, you’re ultimately serving God Himself and ushering in blessings that will spill over from the lives of those you serve into your own life.   

Here’s how you can open your heart and home well:

Pray for a willing heart.  Ask God to give you the desire to reach out to other people through hospitality rather than resenting the time, energy, money, and inconveniences that can be involved.  Realize that practicing hospitality is a spiritual act of worship.  Pray for God to open your eyes to those around you whom He wants you to serve and give you the ability to bless them as He hopes you will.

Look beyond just those you love.  Don’t limit your hospitality only to the people you know and love.  Be willing to reach out to strangers, people who make you uncomfortable, and those who can’t reciprocate.  Every day, look for opportunities to reach out to people who are hurt or in need.

Be generous.  Go beyond the minimum that’s expected of you as a host.  Give your very best effort to the people you serve

Be discerning.  Ask God to give you the wisdom you need to recognize when to refuse entry to people who might bring harm into your home or life.  You shouldn’t have to place yourself or your family in danger to be hospitable.

Focus on welcoming instead of on impressing.  Don’t worry about your lack of a large home, cooking talents, or any other type of resource or skill you think is necessary to impress guests.  The point of hospitality isn’t to impress people; it’s simply to make them feel welcome and cherished.  That’s possible in any type of situation.

Be prepared.  Get your house ready for unexpected guests by regularly cleaning and picking up clutter so you can host people at just about any time.

Go for cheap chic.  Don’t spend more money than you can reasonably afford on your guests, but do the best you can to be thoughtful and stylish within the limits of your budget.  From the food to items for the guest bedroom, keep in mind that simple elegance works well.

Show you care rather than showing off.  Remember that hospitality isn’t about you; it’s about your guests.  Instead of aiming to show off how well you can perform as a host, show your guests that you care about them by getting to know their individual preferences and keeping that information in mind when planning.  For example, if you’re planning a party for someone who loves casual and relaxed gatherings, resist the temptation to plan a fancy and formal event.

Don’t let guests see you sweat.  Never make your guests feel that they have inconvenienced or frustrated you.  Refrain from discussing all the hard work you’ve done to prepare for their arrival or host them while they’ve been in your home.  Ask God to help you relax in their presence and simply enjoy the time you have together.

Let go of unrealistic meal expectations.  Don’t allow yourself to feel intimidated by the thought of having to prepare culinary masterpieces for your guests.  As long as you have enough tasty and healthy food, you can make them feel special.