Understand the Importance of Prayer for Evangelism!
Matthew 9:35-38; John 14:12-14; Colossians 4:2-6;
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: `Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation (Luke 11:1-4, NIV).
Real Prayer is Saturation Prayer
This passage is not a prayer, but rather a model for us to follow of how to pray. The closer we follow this passage, the closer we come to our Lord. The closer we come to attaining the fullness of our spiritual potential, the better we pray. As members of the body of Christ, it is our responsibility to be always teaching one another how to pray; the best teacher is the one who models it in his or her life. We are to model this in all of our activities and pursuits in the church! We are to be specific, simple, and follow the above aspects, so that our prayers are relevant and not too general or crude. We must be honest and open with our Lord and our will is opened because of what He has done for us, who He is, what we wish to do, and who we are to Him; then, we can share our burdens and intimacy.
Prayer is pivotal and essential. Nothing of value can accrue in you or though you without prayer! The above Scriptures testify to us that we need to be praying for workers, for ourselves, for opportunities, and for those who do not know Him!
Prayer is our key to God's door. It is our foundation to the exercising of and growth in the faith, and essential in our witnessing. It is the work of Christ through the work of the Spirit that saves. Prayer lines us up to His will and grows us in maturity and understanding. It is the power behind, in the mist of, and in front of the faith (Ezek. 36:24-32; John 3:5; 30; 20:21-23). To be effective in your growth in Christ, you have to be a person who prays-and prays regularly. To witness, you must be praying for that person's soul and conversion. Pray as specifically as you can, and as often as you can. It may take a few minutes; it may take many years. Whatever the cost and time, prayer is the foundation to any work of evangelism. Without effective prayer, you cannot be effective in your evangelism-period! Do not even try it without prayer! Sharing your faith without praying for the person is like training a pig to fly; all you will do is waste your time and annoy the pig! All you will accomplish in trying to do evangelism without prayer is stay away from God, waste your time, and annoy the person!
· Know this important point: No amount of corporate prayer will make up for a lack of personal prayer! That is, you can and should pray as a group, but because you pray as a group does not mean you can cut back on your personal prayer time! Your personal prayer time is the key to your growth in Christ.
· There is no better use of your personal and ministry time than prayer!
· There is a phrase that says, "Familiarity breeds contempt." Sometimes, the people we are close to have hurt us; perhaps we just do not trust them, perhaps we fear their response, or perhaps we just do not care. We have to have a heart for someone before we can be an effective witness. Continue in your character development and spiritual growth, be consistent, and allow your changed life to show without words-even when others do not respond well to you! Start to pray for them! Then, when you have a heart for them, start to be in prayer; pray more, and then use your words to witness. Do not witness to people you have contempt for, as your attitude will show; all you will do is give the Lord a bad reputation and make it harder for the next person.
· It is essential that all those on staff and leadership of your church be people of continual prayer! If they are not persons of prayer, then they should not be in leadership (Col. 4:2-6; 1 Tim. 2:8)!
· When I went though the training at the Billy Graham School of Evangelism and "Crusade Training," the point was made that over 90% of the people who come to a Crusade, and 95+% of those who go onto the field and pray to accept Jesus, have been regularly prayed for by others-for a significant period of time!
Practical Strategies for Praying for Evangelism
Before each activity, meeting, or event at your church or potential church, pray! Prayer is the platform that plans begin on, end on, and rest on. There should never be anything that goes on at a church that does not have prayer at its central core! Remember confidentiality! Prayer requests are not ammunition for gossip! If your church is not a church of prayer, your church is not in God's will, nor is it focused on Christ! Your church is a mere club for the prideful (Habakkuk. 2:5, 9; Romans 16:17; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
1. Begin each meeting in prayer, and spend at least four-fifths to one-third or more of that meeting in prayer! You say you do not have the time? Well, most meetings are taken up by poor preparation, not following the agenda, and trivial discussions that go in circles. Have the agenda given out a day before and require all to read it before the meeting. Then, by putting the focus on prayer, meetings actually go faster because people are in one mind and direction! (Well, mostly.)
2. Spend significant time in prayer between meeting sessions about the decisions that need to be made. Do not just fret over them. This will move the focus away from our perceived agenda and into His agenda. We then can surrender selfish ambitions to what is best for His church.
3. Have a specific core of people pray before each worship service and event at the church. So, if the Junior High group is having a "lock in," have a small group come before it starts and just pray. Before the event, for safety, get specific requests from the leaders of the event. Have teams pray before and during ministry programs, such as ones for children and youth. While the youth meeting is going on, have a prayer team in another room praying. Do this for all ministries and activities of the church.
4. Sunday service prayer group is a small group of people who are there early to pray (the longer the better), and pray in authority for satanic removal. This type of prayer is in the authority and the name of Christ. The group can literally go through the church and cast away demons and any evil curses, incantations, hexes, spells, etc. One would be surprised at the number of satanic and witch groups in our towns and cities, trying with all their little hearts to distort and destroy you in the name of Satan!
5. Continue to have prayer walks through your neighborhood.
a. Have assigned people to pray for each church planter, pastor, and missionary of the church on a constant basis. Do this for both individual prayer warriors and, collectively, for a prayer group.
b. Have a team of prayer warriors to pray for government offices. Invite city and government officials over for social events in the church, and see if you can pray for them in person. Be cautious, tactful, and never force yourself on others. See if you can make appointments with them at their offices, and ask their permission to keep them in prayer. Pray for them on the spot if they desire. You will be surprised at the response; most elected officials will not turn you down. If they do, then do as Matthew 10 tells us. If you are in a country where Christianity is outlawed, this approach may put you in danger, so it may be best just to pray at home.
c. This may sound on the edge, but it is not, and is totally Biblical. Have a trained team of people to engage in spiritual warfare. Simply put-pray against the strongholds. Keep it simple, and focused upon Christ and the work of the Spirit.
d. Have a trained team of people to pray for people after each Bible study and church service. That way, a sufficient number of people are there partaking so no one is being rushed.
e. Fasting is for today! It is not a tool to force God to comply, but for us to comply with His will.
f. Have 24 hour prayer vigils on a regular basis, where two or more people are at the church, potentially praying all the time in short sessions so they do not burn out.
g. Have "Concerts of Prayer," on a monthly basis and, eventually, on a weekly basis. That is, have a prayer service with directed prayer and silent prayer. Pray for revival, for individuals, for government, for…
h. Pray where the people are. Public school teachers, you can come to your class early, sit in your student's seats, and pray for each of them, so each student gets prayed for at least once a week. Pastors and church leaders should do this for those who just attend the worship services as well as for those in the Sunday school classes. This also works for your work and your family; just make sure you do not intrude or violate their privacy!
Pray Specifically! (1 Thessalonians 5:16-25)
The best prayers tend to be targeted to specifics. God is a God of details, He knows them, and He wants you to know them too. Prayer is not when it is convenient or for short periods of time when we can remember; prayer is to be continual and persistent, it is the occupation of your soul. It may start small, but as you pray, it will grow. Your persistence is key (Luke 18:1-7; Acts 9:11; Ephesians 6:18)!
· Keep your relationships in prayer! For individuals, find out (without gossip) their needs and concerns, and then pray. While in prayer, look for opportunities to share (Psalm 17:1-6).
Identify any demonic influences there. These are called "strongholds" and include cults, temples, sin-based businesses such as adult bookstores and sleazy bars, and pray against them (Matthew 12:29; John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 4:27; 6:11-17; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8).
· Satanic strongholds are the devil's campground to war against the work of God. Satan cannot take any ground that Christ will not allow!
· Find out the problems and needs of your city such as adult bookstores, false religions, poverty, fatherless families, jobs, and corruption. Pray as you walk, pray at home, and pray at your church.
· You can take the strongholds down simply by focused prayer Pray as you walk by them, pray at home, and pray at your church. Strongholds is not a fringed charismatic thing, it is a Biblical precept (Mark 9:28-29; John 8:47; 10:10; Eph 4:27; Revelation 12:10)!!
· Make sure you have confessed your sins and repented before you dare do this! Repentance is essential; after you repent, you can resist the devil. So, be prepared for a backlash to your efforts. Keep up the prayer with your eyes and resolve focused upon Him!
Prayer is the essential key to evangelism; if you are not praying, you are not evangelizing or being used by God very much!
©2004 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org