PRAYING FOR EVANGELISM
We know that God wants His children to continue earnestly in prayer (Colossians 4:2). We know, too, that He wants us to teach the gospel to every person in the world (Mark 16:15). Have you ever considered what the New Testament says about putting those two matters together? When you combine lips praying forevangelism with lips practicing evangelism, that is a powerful dynamic. When it comes to praying for evangelism, here are some specific matters about which we can pray.
- Pray for the lost. The apostle Paul did: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). We should observe that Paul did more than pray for the salvation of his fellow Jews – he also diligently worked to teach them the truth.
- Pray for more workers, that is, more followers of Jesus teaching God’s word to the lost. Is that not what the Christ calls on us to do? When the merciful Master “saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:36-38). There is a potential harvest waiting, but the harvest can come only when people have a chance to hear the good news. “And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). Let us pray for multitudes of teachers to proclaim the soul-saving gospel. Then, let us be like Isaiah: “Oh, we need more workers? Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
- Pray for the physical well-being of those who teach the gospel. As Paul planned to travel to Jerusalem, he pleaded with the saints in Rome to pray for him, “Now I beg you, brethren . . . that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe . . .” (Romans 15:30,31). Again, the same apostle wrote, “Finally, brethren, pray for us . . . that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:1,2). Gospel preachers and other teachers of God’s word need our prayers as they face situations that are challenging, unpleasant, or dangerous.
- Pray for the boldness of those who teach the gospel. At the conclusion of his instructions about the armor of God, Paul told the disciples in Ephesus, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18,19). It is interesting, is it not? Paul was guided by the Spirit to speak and write God’s message, but the Spirit did not supply courage to him or other inspired men in a miraculous manner. It was up to them to have the faith and strength to speak boldly. If an apostle needed brethren to pray for his boldness as a teacher, then surely modern-day teachers need such prayers, too.
- Pray for open doors, that is, opportunities for the gospel to be taught. “Continue earnestly in prayer . . . praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains” (Colossians 4:2,3). What a fabulous thought! Implore the Great Door Opener to open doors that we might be able to teach others about Him and His salvation! When the Lord opened the doors to release His apostles from prison, it was with the intent that they would open their mouths and “speak to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:19,20). Once we have prayed for doors to be opened, we need to search for them, thank God when we find them, and then take advantage of them by opening our mouths and teaching. Praying for evangelism is good stuff!
- Pray and give God thanks and glory for good things that happen in evangelism. If God tells us, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), then surely it is appropriate to thank Him when we see saints zealously teaching and souls being saved. And, if it was proper for a leper who received physical cleansing to express gratitude and glorify God (Luke 17:15-18), then it would be good for us to thank and praise the Lord in prayer when folks receive spiritual cleansing (1 Peter 1:22,23).
- Pray that we might become more useful instruments in teaching the gospel to lost people. I think about the apostles asking Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5), the Thessalonian saints being charged to increase in love (1 Thessalonians 4:9,10), and the potential for a servant’s talents to be increased (Parable of Talents, Matthew 25:14-30). Yes, you and I can grow spiritually. One area in which we have that need is in our ability to communicate the gospel to others. Let us pray for those who already are effective teachers, and let us pray, too, that we can become better teachers.
Would you make a personal commitment to pray more for evangelism? Are you ready to devote more prayer time to evangelism and salvation matters than you pray for such earthly matters as a pet’s health, a child’s score on an exam, or a business investment?
When Nehemiah and his co-laborers rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem, they prayed, then they watched and worked (Nehemiah 4:6,9). That is a worthy model for us as we pray for evangelism.
— Roger D. Campbell