4 potent prayers to invigorate evangelism
These four, simple prayers will help solve a pastor’s most enduring and most important problem: motivating church folks to evangelism.
They are more compelling than harangue, more persuasive than sermons, more energizing than admonition, and more biblical than any motivational gimmick you can imagine.
If you teach your church these four prayers and lead them to pray regularly, you will invigorate their zeal for witness and see new believers in your church.
Pray for help
Jesus knew we would always need a steady supply of believers ready, willing and able to participate in outreach ministries (and personal evangelism). Thus, the most important prayer is a petition for more to help with the work.
"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." (Matthew 9:37-38).
Pray for boldness
Today, as in Bible times, the gospel is met with hostility. It is a countercultural message that offends the very people it benefits. We receive God’s help to avoid shrinking from hostility when we ask for boldness in the face of opposition. Note how the first believers instinctively knew to ask for boldness, and how that prayer was answered.
"And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, '…. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness…' ”
"And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:24-31).1
Pray for opportunity
Believers may imagine that they never have a chance to witness. Busy schedules, insular lives and lack of neighborliness may make “God moments” few and far between.
Teach them to pray for opportunities, just like the apostle Paul asked for others to pray in his behalf. If your church learns to pray this regularly, they’ll be astounded at the fresh and exciting ways God brings people into their lives.
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak." (Colossians 4:2-4).2
Pray for results
A small percentage of your church members will be those whom God blesses with the joy of seeing new believers left and right. Most of us will be like Timothy, whom Paul exhorted to “do the work of an evangelist.”
But we can all pray for success. When that happens the whole mission team (the church) experiences the blessing of seeing the gospel spread.
"Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you" (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
And what happened among them?
"… when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God" (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Take the burden of lifeless, ineffective church outreach off of your shoulders and place it where it belongs - in God’s strong hands. Only he can do the spiritual work needed to raise up mission participants, to open doors, and to make for bold witnesses.
If you teach these prayers, practice them yourself, and lead your church to engage them regularly we will invigorate that languishing evangelism ministry.
1. Twice in Ephesians 6:19-20 Paul asks the believers to pray that he might continue to be bold!
2. We see these prayers answered in Acts 14:27 and 1 Corinthians 16:9. Paul’s passing comment that “there are many adversaries” emphasizes his need of prayer for boldness.
An experienced ministry leader, writer and educator, Bud Brown is co-founder of Turnaround Pastors and co-author of the ground-breaking Pastor Unique: Becoming A Turnaround Leader. He is a change leader in many venues — small rural, upscale suburban and mega-sized churches. He brings special expertise to change leadership in the local church, mentoring pastors to become revitalization leaders, training churches how to find and recruit the best talent, and training leadership teams how to achieve their shared goals. Bud also trains pastors in conferences, workshops and coaching sessions.
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