Praying for Your Neighbors
Everyone should be challenged to pray for their neighbors. C.S. Lewis offers a forceful charge, “Next to the blessed sacrament, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”
The Scripture makes it clear – God has ordered our boundaries. He moved the family in next door to us (Acts 17:26). He parked the pagan at the desk next to us. Why? He wants those people exposed to the salt and light He has placed in our lives. We, on the other hand, are constantly on a mission to escape the darkness, to fellowship with nice Christians, to avoid profanity and cigar smoke, to surround ourselves with pleasant and polite people.
God is on a different mission. He wants to press us up against the corruption around us and plunge us, as light, into the darkness. He has more confidence in the power He has placed within us than do we. We often see ourselves as besieged Christians in a culture increasingly hostile to Biblical faith. God sees us as His missionary force. We are looking for a Christian haven. He is looking for a Christian to park at some gate to hell. His ways are not our ways. The process can be started in a simple way. The essence of prayer evangelism is a commitment to first pray and then, to be “a light” to the lost people around us, to be intentional with regard to the lost in these ways:
- Identify at least five people who are not Christians. This may require some relational work, since the average American knows fewer than three neighbors. (Check out this website to find the names of your neighbors: http://www.pray4everyhome.org)
- Make a list of these people and place the list in a place where you will see it regularly – the sun visor on your car, your computer screen, the bathroom mirror, the flyleaf of your Bible. Your prayer for them fulfills the ‘Great Commitment.’
- Pray for them at least five minutes a day for five days a week.
- Ask God to help you find ways to care for them (the Great Commandment).
- Respond to the open doors God gives you to share Christ with them (the Great Commission).
The prayer that is prayed for these people is one of blessing. Use the word bless as an acronym for prayer:
- Body – pray for things physical, housing, health, healing, and so forth.
- Labor – pray for work needs, job issues, employment-related concerns.
- Emotional – pray for peace of mind, fulfillment, joy, happiness.
- Social – pray for relationships, family needs, children, marriages.
- Spiritual – pray for their salvation, for them to come to know Christ, an awakening for them as a family, as individuals, for their hearts and their home to be open to Christ.
P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.