Reaching your field requires prayerful dependence on God.
Reaching people far from God is a supernatural work. You simply can’t do it on your own effort. It requires a prayerful dependence on God every step of the way.
I’ll never forget prayer walking in the neighborhood around the church I pastored years ago. Across the street was a middle school filled with inner-city kids. The school itself was old and worn, surrounded by a stone wall with barbed wire stretched across the top.
As I walked by the school that morning and prayed for the teachers and students, God spoke to my heart: “Craig, how long has it been since you have been in this school?”
Immediately, I was convicted because I had never once stepped on this school’s campus. I quickly prayed, “Lord, Monday morning I will go.”
That initial prayer walk led to a long relationship not only with that school, but with five schools in our area, resulting in hundreds of students and teachers coming to faith in Jesus. You see, God was already at work in that school. I just didn’t see it until I prayed.
If you are going to reach your field, it will require you to seek the Lord in fervent prayer, asking Him for direction.
On one occasion when Jesus was entangled in a dispute with the religious leaders of His day, He said, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working. … Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner,” (John 5.17,19 NaSB). As I have reflected over the years on this verse, I have come to believe that Jesus is actually showing us five ways to pray for the people we are trying to reach.
Praise God that He is already at work in your field.
Jesus said, “My Father is working until now.” He understood that the Father is always at work, drawing people to Himself. This is an amazing promise. God is always all around you. He is at work in your neighborhood, your school, your office or company, and even in your son’s Little League. God is at work in people’s hearts, and He is preparing them to encounter you and to hear the Gospel.
In (Acts 8.26 ESV) the Spirit of God instructs Philip to go down a certain road south of Jerusalem. There he encounters an Ethiopian official who was ready to hear the Gospel. Was that a coincidence? No, it was providence! God was already at work to bring a seeking soul into contact with a willing witness. Praise God that He is already working and preparing people’s hearts.
Ask God to show you where He is working so you can join Him.
After Jesus said that the Father was at work, He added, “and I Myself am working.” Here is an amazing principle in Scripture: While God is at work and is fully capable to accomplish whatever He desires to do, God delights in inviting us to join Him in His work! God wants you to get involved in what He is doing. Just as a dad might let his young son put his hands on the mower while he pushes it, our heavenly Father delights in letting us put our hands on this work of redemption, while all along, He is supplying the power and ability for changing lives.
Ask God to show you where He is already at work.
Pray, “Lord, lead me to the people who you are speaking to and guide me to the places where you are already at work. Thank you for letting me play a small part in your big redemptive plan!”
Ask God to change the lives of the people around you.
Even Jesus, in His humbled and human state, acknowledged His desperate need for the Father’s power in his life. He admitted, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself.”
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi that, “while Jesus was God and existed as one with the Father from eternity past, He chose to empty Himself and take on the form of a human servant,” (Philippians 2.5-8). In His humility, Jesus demonstrated for us how we should live in complete dependence on the Father for everything.
Jesus made this clear when He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing,” (John 15.5 ESV). Only God can change a life. Only He can bring a person to saving faith and repentance. Pray that God would do what only He can do. Ask Him to reach out, convict, open blind eyes, change hearts and save those in your field who desperately need Him.
Ask God to open your eyes to see people the way He sees them.
While you are praying for God to move in the hearts of the people in your field, ask Him to move in your heart too. Ask Him to open your eyes to see the people as He sees them. Jesus said, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing,” (John 5.19 NaSB).
What you need is spiritual eyes. Eyes to see the needs of people. Eyes to see where God is at work. Eyes of compassion for the hurting. Eyes of wisdom and discernment. Eyes to see beyond the physical realities to the spiritual realities all around you. Ask God to give you supernatural vision and insight into His ways and purposes.
The Apostle Paul prayed this for the church in Ephesus. He said, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…,” (Ephesians 1.18 NaSB). He was praying for their spiritual vision to see what God was doing around them. Pray the same for yourself. Pray for God to give you spiritual vision to see where He is at work and how you can join Him.
Surrender your life completely to God.
God is looking for obedience. It’s one thing to acknowledge that God is at work and wants you to join Him in His work. You can even pray for God to intervene in the lives of the people around you and give you spiritual vision to see what He is doing. It is another thing for you to actually do something.
God is looking for people who will pray, see where He is at work and then step out in faith and obey His leading. obedience to Jesus in reaching your field will require an adjustment on your part. It will require you to be uncomfortable. It will require you to trust God and move forward in faith as you build that relationship, open your mouth and share what Jesus has done for you.
Jesus said, “for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner,” (John 5.19 ESV). Jesus was always obedient to do what the Father told Him to do.
On another occasion Jesus said, “I always do what pleases him [his Father],” (John 8.29 NlT). Can you say that? Can you say, “I always follow the prompting of the Spirit in my life when it comes to sharing my faith”?
Again Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me,” (John 6.38 NaSB). That is what God is looking for — people who will do His will instead of their own.
Pray that the Father will give you courage to speak when He prompts you to speak and serve when He moves you to serve. Ask Him for supernatural boldness to engage people far from Him with the hope of the Gospel.
This blog features an excerpt from our book, Reach Your World.
This post originally appeared at: 5 Ways To Pray For The People You Are Trying To Reach – discipleFIRST