How to Pray for Your Neighbor’s Salvation

I recently got new neighbors.  They moved in across the way.

I know very little about them at the moment, other than they are Jewish.

At least, that is my best guess based on the mezuzah that is on their door frame.  I am told that the mezuzah holds a small paper scroll with the words of the Shema prayer written on it in Hebrew.  Mezuzahs fulfill the command to keep the laws of God on the doorposts of our homes, and I’ve seen family members touch it each time they walk into their house.

I doubt my first greeting with them will be to talk about Jesus.

But I can begin to pray for them before I have a chance to know them personally.

How can you pray for your neighbors?

How to Pray for Neighbors Salvation

I know there are many different prayer strategies in personal evangelism (listen to this one), such as this one from Colossians 4:3-4

  • “Lord, Open a door.”
  • “Lord, open their heart.”
  • “Lord, open my mouth.”

When I last got new neighbors in 2011, here is what shaped my prayer for my new neighbors.  We are praying along these lines:

  1. That we’d find common ground with our new neighbors
  2. That we’d build a genuine and authentic relationship.
  3. That we’d be part of God’s work in bringing them to Christ.
  4. That if they don’t have a church, that they would become part of ours.
  5. That we’d get to invite them to our church.
  6. That God would draw them to Jesus if that hasn’t happened yet.

Due to the course of life events in both our families, we moved and they moved before we ever had a meal together.

As I step into a new seasons of praying for new neighbors, here are some ideas that are fueling me.

1.  Pray for passion to share the good news

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s  driving passion to share the good news, as spelled out in 1 Corinthians 9:16-23.

For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.  What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law),so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

2.  Pray that God would give you divine appointments

Earlier in the Corinthian letter, Paul wrote:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. (1 Corinthians 3:5)

Paul reminded the Corinthians about how they made their journey to faith over time through various conversational encounters.

Each of those conversational encounters were divine appointments, those prompting a moment that will impact someone’s life in their journey to faith.  I want to give you examples of how this can play out in real life.

Pray for more divine appointments with your neighbor.

3.  Pray that God will keep those neighbors before you.

Your neighbors are not just a nameless class of irrelgious people.

They are not simply “the unsaved.”  Rather, they are individuals with names, stories, hopes, dreams.  They are people that you can grow to love and serve.

You could pray that seeing your neighbors will become a trigger that will prompt you to pray,

Lord use me to share the love of Christ with them.

Lord, use me to invite them to church.

Pray that God would give you the opportunity to invite someone to church this coming weekend.

4.  Pray that you’ll receive the Father’s heart of love.

It’ll be easy to get annoyed with your neighbors when they won’t cut their tree limbs back, or when their dog continues to do its business on your yard.

It’ll become easy to ignore your neighbor if you never interact with them.

It’ll become easy to forget about their spiritual condition once you have spent a good amount of time with them.

Instead of letting business as usual develop, ask the Lord to give you His heart of love for those who don’t know him.

Ask regularly, ask plainly, and ask with great passion.

Ask the Lord for that same compassion Jesus felt that day outside of Jerusalem.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  (Matthew 9:36-38)

5.  Pray that you’ll discern their spiritual thirst.

As you pray regularly for your neighbor, you’ll begin to see what the Spirit of God is doing in their life.

You’ll begin to see their spiritual thirst.

Recently, I went on a charter fishing expedition.  The captain looked for clues as we drove to the fishing spots – birds feeding on bait fish.  The birds showed the captain where the small bait fish were swimming near the surface and that was the clue to the likely presence of the bigger fish we would catch.

Spiritual thirst is that clue that will begin to give you a hint of the spiritual hunger that is just below the surface.

In the way I teach personal evangelism, this thirst is what God uses to draw people to himself.  Jesus said:

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37b)

Jesus plainly taught that if anyone wants a relationship with God, it can be obtained.

But notice that this claim to a relationship is specifically addressed only to those who are spiritually thirsty.

Pray that you’ll begin to see it.

I pray for my neighbors.  Will you pray for yours?

Here is the coaching corner.

Are you praying regularly for your neighbors?

Maybe it is time to make a prayer list of every neighbor in your apartment building, condo complex, or cul-de-sac.

Write down their names and set apart time in your devotional times to pray for them.

A Sinner’s Prayer is not The Goal of Evangelism

His prayer 25 years ago failed.

My friend had obediently prayed with the well meaning evangelist.  My friend repeated the phrases the evangelist said, one after the next, confessing his sin, inviting Jesus into his heart.

But nothing happened.

There was no spiritual transaction,  no renewal in his heart, no conviction of sin, and no awareness of the power of God’s grace.

My friend’s life didn’t change.  Twenty five years later, he simply reflects:

[Read more...]

5 Possible Desired Outcomes of Door to Door Visitation

Perhaps your church is thinking about a door to door evangelism outreach.

Some churches excel at it.  Other churches want to get better, and still others want to avoid any kind of door to door visitation.

If you are considering a door to door evangelism campaign, the premier question I would ask you is

What is your desired outcome?

Townhouse.  Source: Self

1.  Prayerwalk the community.

You might structure your door to door campaign as an ongoing prayer effort in your community.  You can do this form of prayer ministry without even touching a door.

I have a pastor friend who spent his lunch hour, 5 days a week, walking the streets of his community.

He would simply

  • Pray for the community.
  • Pray for the small businesses.
  • Pray for the government workers.
  • Pray for the people who walk the street for their errands, lifestyle, or other purpose.

Sometimes he would stop in front of house or office and pray a short prayer, or other times, he would keep walking while praying.

This form of door to door outreach isn’t really knocking on doors, but is intentionally walking every street of an area that you have defined and praying for every house, every business, and every person that you see as you walk.

Often, this pastor felt a leading to engage particular people in conversation, invite them to a church event, or even offer to pray for a particular need.

Be sensitive to moments of generosity, moments of grace, and moments when the Holy Spirit might lead you to engage a person in conversation.

2.  Community Exegesis

Another technique of a door to door visitation is to learn about the needs of the community.  Some churches will visit every house and business in a defined area and seek to gather information about the community.

These visits usually take the form of some kind of survey that is not evangelistic in nature, but aimed at gathering a reasonable sample of community data.

However, you might encounter some geniune spiritual thirst while talking with people.

Consider if the Holy Spirit is prompting you to take the conversation further.

3.  Gospel Presentations

Some churches will choose to carry a particular gospel conversation house to house.

That might be:

  • The Four Spiritual Laws
  • The Romans Road
  • Evangelism Explosion
  • Evangecube
  • The Bridge
  • Steps to Peace with God
  • Do versus Done.
  • Or some other gospel presentation that’s been reduced to several points.

This was a common practice in many church growth programs decades ago and may still be appropriate in some places.  I am often asked to teach door to door evangelism with this model, but I do a different take on it, since I don’t think everyone is ready to hear the gospel on my time schedule.

Rather than assume that a person wants to hear the gospel, I look for signs of spiritual interest.  If there are none, I offer to pray for any need they may have and then move on.  This leads me to the next one.

4.  Spiritual Thirst

I believe that noticing spiritual thirst will open good conversational doors.

While there are many gospel presentations (I call them gospel scripts) that one could memorize for door to door evangelism campaigns, I teach an evangelism method can help you at each door you visit during your evangelism campaign.

  • Watch for the working of the Holy Spirit
  • Listen for spiritual thirst
  • Discern your place in their journey
  • Suggest possible next steps towards Jesus.

If part of your purpose is evangelism, consider using the Effective Conversations DVD for door to door training.

5.  Start New Seeker oriented groups

Using a good tool, like The Your Journey Guide (by Gary Rhormayer),  you’ll be able to determine some community needs, plus see who is currently thinking about improving their spiritual life.

I’ve started using this tool myself to determine who has a genuine interest in learning more about God.

Then, with a group of people, we can start a small group time together among neighbors and talk more about who Jesus is and so on.

This is my biggest joy – gathering spiritually open people who want to grow and have expressed a desire to learn more about Jesus.

What is your desired outcome of door to door visitation?

If you were to consider the various outcomes, what might yours be?

That outcome will determine what kind of training you will want to provide, plus suggest the tools you will need.

If part of your purpose is evangelism, consider using the Effective Conversations DVD for door to door training.  It can help you with more effective conversations that presenting a simple script.

Image Credit: Self

Video: It will Cost You Everything

It is unfair of any evangelist to withhold the cost of discipleship.   Following Jesus will cost you everything.

This video came across my feed and I found my self really stirred.  This video is an evangelistic call quoting, in part, from the texts of the gospel and the reality of the second coming.

It holds back nothing and maps out the cost of surrendering to Jesus, plus an urgent plea to do so.

(If you are reading by a feed reader and you cannot see the video above, please click through to the post).

The images, the music, and the wording makes this a moving presentation.

There is no easy believe-ism in this message.   There is no Believe in me and you’ll have a wonderful life.  Rather, this video does  good job in laying out the cost of following Jesus – it’ll cost you everything.

My reaction

As I spent the full 10 minutes to complete watching, I found myself reflecting on my own personal evangelism.

I thought about the urgency of the gospel, vs the need to give a person time to consider the claims of Jesus.  I recalled my reading of Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan, and the urgency to communicate the urgent plea to people to be reconciled to God.

As I spend time with my friends and share my faith with them, this video calls me to renewed prayer for my lost friends.  It provokes me to urge them to be reconciled to God.

Cost of Discipleship

What is your reaction to it?

What is your reaction to this video?  I invite you to leave your reaction in the comments below.  But only after you watch the whole thing.