Prayer As Evangelism

I imagine all of us have said to ourselves, “I don’t have the gift of evangelism.” Or maybe we have thought that we don’t have time for evangelism. But did you know that simply praying for someone is a part of evangelism? You are going before the Father asking that a specific family member, friend, co-worker or neighbor would come to place their trust in Jesus Christ. That is not a passive act but an intentional act of interceding on behalf of someone for their salvation.

In fact, Jesus tells us that prayer is the first response in having an outward heart for those who do not know Christ. In Matthew 9:38 after it said that Jesus had compassion on those who were lost, it says he turned to his disciples and told them to pray. His first response wasn’t to teach. It wasn’t to share the Gospel. Verse 37 says, “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Why pray? The heart of the Father is already desiring that all people be saved. Why do we ask God the Father to do what he is already desiring to do. I believe one of the reasons is that prayer aligns our heart with the heart of God. Prayer also brings us into the work of God. God wants to use in his mission. Prayer brings into that mission.

Regardless of our comfort level in sharing the Gospel, regardless of whether we are introverts or extraverts, regardless of whatever physical or spiritual gifting we have or do not have, we can all pray. In fact, we have all been commanded to pray.

And the amazing thing about prayer is that it opens our eyes to the spiritual work of God all around. We now have a new spiritual sensitivity toward other and a new compassion toward others. I also believe through we are given a new boldness to enter into the relationships all around us.

I was recently in a personal evangelism cohort that was challenging us to pray for non-believers around us. I chose a neighbor across the street from me that I didn’t really know but based on some limited knowledge I did not believe that he was a Christian. I began to pray for him every day. Day after day turned into week after week. One day I was mowing my lawn and he was working in his lawn. We were essentially working just 30 feet from each other. As I was mowing God was placing on my heart to go talk with him. It felt strange because we didn’t have a relationship. God kept nudging me. Finally, I stopped my mower and made the 30-foot walk. I essentially said, “Hey, I was wondering if you would ever like to get together for coffee sometime? He said sure. He gave me his number and we both agreed we would check our schedules.”

This bold 30-foot walk would not have happened if I hadn’t spent the last few weeks praying for him and an opportunity to connect with him. Those daily prayers built a sensitivity for him. And when the opportunity presented itself those prayers also built a boldness to go talk to him.

My evangelistic life did not start when I crossed the street. It started when I began praying.

As you consider how God desires to use you to share the Gospel with those around you, would you begin by daily praying for someone? And maybe your prayer is, ‘Lord, give me someone to pray for.”

When we begin to commit ourselves to pray daily for those around us a couple things will happen. Our heart will turn outward. We will be desiring the things of God. We will be setting our minds on the things of the Father. Those prayers for one person will most likely lead to prayers for more people. Your time praying outwardly will begin to increase. But the other thing that will happen is that you will be looking for opportunities to be in relationships with the ones you are praying for. Instead of fearing those opportunities, there will be an eagerness to pursue those opportunities. You will begin to view your life through the outward lens of the Gospel.

If evangelism seems daunting to you, would you begin by praying evangelistic prayers? This is the first step in developing a compassionate heart for those around you