God did an incredible work in and through His people on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon the believers, Peter proclaimed the gospel of Jesus, and 3,000 people responded and were added to their number. Out of their common love for Christ, the believers came together and shared meals, worshiped and praised God together, and otherwise enjoyed one another’s company. They continued to grow by learning under the apostles’ teaching, fellowshipping together, and praying.
Every great movement from God starts with prayer and is confirmed by prayer. In Acts 1, the first activity of the church was a prayer meeting.
Prayer is the key to effective evangelism. We don’t change people’s hearts with our convincing arguments or clever presentations.
Far more important than anything a believer can learn about evangelism is how much he or she depends on the Holy Spirit for witnessing. Before you start to have a conversation about Christ with your neighbor, coworker, or a fellow student—pause for prayer. It doesn’t need to be a long, involved prayer. Sometimes it’s enough to say, “Lord, let me speak Your words.”
A friend of mine says, “The reason we don’t pray is not because we’re too busy, but because we’re too confident.” Jesus said, “You can do nothing without Me” (John 15:5); Paul wrote, “Pray constantly” (1 Thess. 5:17). Prayer should drive us to our knees in humility, knowing we need Jesus every hour.
Prayer allows God to change me—the one praying. As I pray in the love of Christ for others who don’t know God, I become more burdened for their souls. As I pray for their broken relationships, health concerns, financial worries, or problems at work, I grow in concern and love for them. People will be more open to hearing our message when they sense that we genuinely care about them and what matters to them.
Praying for others leads to caring for others.
How will you actively and intentionally show love to people this week? Consider the following suggestions:
Pray. Take a prayer walk through your neighborhood. Pray for the spiritual, emotional, and financial needs of each household—and pray especially for their salvation.
Care. Actively look for someone in need this week. Determine to give sacrificially, whether of your time, money, or other resources to help that person in the name of Jesus.
Share. Think of someone you’ve prayed for or helped in practical ways but never talked to about Jesus. Bring Jesus into your conversation with that person. Let him or her know your concern is motivated by the love of Christ in your life.
As members of the church, we have an opportunity to create a culture that’s way more attractive than anything a corporation could produce. But it starts with you. Choose to pray, care, and share as a witness of Christ.
Excerpted from Greg Matte, Bible Studies for Life: Unstoppable © 2016 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.