Praying for the Lost Works
In 1993 I led a Bible study series with a group of twenty or so rather boisterous university students who asked to be taught about prayer. In the process we had a book for the prayer points. This book contained three columns: Request, Date Entered and Date Answered. The students started praying for their friends' salvation, and within a couple of weeks the answers began, two or three people coming to know the Lord every week, and then often ending up at the Bible study. Every person whose name was in the book for prayer eventually came to Christ. The prayer journal became known as the “book of life.” If memory serves me correctly, about twenty-five people came to Christ through prayer alone that semester. Prayer worked. Even with inexperienced believers who hated witnessing, prayer worked and people were saved.
Key Ingredients to Successful Prayer Evangelism
• A group of believers gathered in unity (Matthew 18:19-20)
• Being taught how to pray (Luke 11:1)
• Praying in faith (Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24)
• For the lost (Romans 10:1-3, 1 Timothy 2:1-8)
• Who are their neighbors (Luke 10: 25-37)
• Lovingly by name (Exodus 33:17, Isaiah 43:1)
• Regularly and persistently (Luke 18:1-8)
• And recording the answers and building faith (1 Chronicles 16:4)
Why Prayer Evangelism Works
• Prayer wrestles against powers and principalities (Ephesians 6:10-20)
• That keep people in spiritual bondage (Ephesians 2:1-4, 4:17-19)
• And that can deceive them away from the truth (1 Timothy 4:1-4)
• Prayer also opens people’s spiritual eyes (Colossians 1:9, Ephesians 1:17-19)
• And assists with the Holy Spirit’s work of convicting them of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8)
How Can a Local Church or Home Church Begin Prayer Evangelism?
First, teach your people how to pray (Luke 11:1). Christians generally have to be taught how to pray. It is a process of learning about who we are in Christ, our spiritual authority and how the promises of God can be claimed in faith. Free material on how to pray can be found at www.aibi.ph/prayer.
Second, get a prayer journal and use it. Faith is built when we see prayer answered. It is good to record the deeds of the Lord. Get a large notebook and rule it into three columns, a wide column for the prayer request and two narrower columns for date entered and date answered. Make the prayer journal part of every prayer meeting and weekly bible study group.
Third, pray regularly and persistently. Pray each week at the Bible study or home church meeting. Pray for all the unanswered items each week. Be faithful; God desires for people to know him.
Fourth, pray in faith and expect answers (Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24). The scriptures tell us to (1) pray “believing we have received” faith and (2) pray with holy expectation that our prayers are reaching heaven.
Fifth, pray lovingly by name for people. Names are important to God who “knows us by name” and “redeems us by name” (Isaiah 43:1, Exodus 33:17). Prayer that is directed personally and lovingly in faith, on the basis of redemption of a soul, is powerful.
Finally, pray for “neighbors who are lost.” God has put us next to certain people for their salvation. There is often a divine purpose in whom we meet and whom the Lord places on our hearts. Ask God to give you a prayer burden for specific people, whether they be family, friends or neighbors.
Any group of three believers can do this. It does not require you to “be an evangelist,” hand out tracts or knock on doors. If someone wants a gospel presentation you can direct them to an online gospel presentation such as www.aibi.ph/articles/gospel1.htm.
You don’t even need to form a committee! Just get your notebook, your Bible, a couple of friends—and pray for the lost. You will see God move hearts.