Five Ways to Pray for Your Community
Last week Dan commented on my post:
Nice post. Good points. But one that needs to be added is that church members pray to be burdened for the lost. That is the one thing I have found most lacking in the 2 established churches where I have served.
Dan is right on the money. I presume Dan is a pastor and so he, like most pastors, see the need for churches to continually stoke the fire of evangelism. Dan's post inspired another set of "fives": Five Ways to Pray for Your Community:
1) Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of men of their need for Christ.
In our community, something like 85% of people are unchurched. That means they don't attend a Bible-believing church at all. This is a staggering number. Which is why churches, instead of fighting over the 15%, must go after the 85%. The churches in a given community must work hard to bring the gospel message to the community, but more importantly, it means the 15% should be on its knees in prayer before the Lord, praying for an outpouring of His Spirit.
2) Pray that the Church in the community will be faithful to present the gospel message, clearly, creatively, and faithfully.
Pray for your own local expression of the Church and pray for the larger body of Christ in your community. Pray that the Church will boldly present Christ to the community, even as the gospel becomes more controversial in the broader culture. Pray also for unity around this purpose within your local church and among Bible-preaching churches in the community. Your church can't read every soul, it will take all believers to faithfully share Christ. Pray also for creativity in faithfully presenting Christ in a context that reaches people where they are.
3) Pray that your church and all local churches will become burdened about the lost in your community.
I once had lunch with a pastor in our community. He is the one who shared those statistics about the unchurched. Then he said to me, "85% of the people in our community may be going to a Christless eternity. Are we okay with that?" Evangelism begins with a burden, it begins with a God-directed passion to love the lost into the Kingdom. It is God who does the work of salvation and it is God who draws men, not our clever programs. But God uses people.
4) Pray that your church would be biblically faithful in its evangelistic approach.
Evangelism is at the heart of God's mission, it's our purpose as ambassadors for Christ. But God cares as much how we win the lost with that we do it. So pray that your church doesn't becomes so enslaved to the God of pragmatism that you lose the heart of the gospel itself, that your ministry becomes so much about what the wider culture thinks about you than glorifying God. Where this line is may be different for every church, but mostly pray that your church keeps at the core if its mission the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
5) Pray that YOU will be the one God sends.
We pray, we talk, we train, we preach, then we rinse, lather and repeat. What we fail to do is actually go out and share Christ with the lost. Pray that you, not your neighbor or the choir director or the youth pastor would be the one sent by God on mission. That you would have such a fire and passion in your heart for those who don't know Jesus that it would motivate you to be a missionary in your community. And pray that God will expose you to potential relationships with unsaved people, where you can assemble the building blocks of fruitful, gospel-transferring relationships.