Read His Words Before Ours!
I look out my window and see her walking to her mailbox. I suddenly realize we have now lived in this house, next door to this lady and her family, for a whole year, yet I know very little about her.
I’ve certainly never invited her over for tea or coffee like I intended. All I really know about her is she is a fellow homeschool mom. Embarrassingly, I don’t even know how many children she homeschools.
Perhaps you can relate to this scenario. Sadly, it’s an incredibly common one in our age of isolation and busyness. But common though it may be, it is a far cry from what God intended for us.
From Genesis 2:18, when God first declares it is not good for man to be alone, to Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which speaks of the sad danger of doing life in isolation, we see God created us as relational humans, designed to do life in community.
Not only that, but a crucial aspect of the Christian life is seeking to fulfill the Great Commission, which centers around relationships and living an invitational, hospitable life.
But we have allowed busyness to creep in.
We have allowed to-do lists, expectations, and goals
to crowd in and crowd out
long teatime chats, visits, hospitality, and potluck dinners with friends and strangers alike.
We may not realize, however, how foundational prayer is to reaching our neighbors with the love, light, and good news of Christ. Scratching tasks off the to-do list, or removing events from our calendars, in an attempt to make space for discipleship is a good first step, but it won’t get the job done. Even purposing to “do better” and be more hospitable in the future leaves us relying on our own efforts.
Instead, effective discipleship is a living, moving partnership with the Father,
and it all starts with prayer.
4 Prayers to Pray As We Seek to Reach Our Neighbors
1. Pray for eyes to see and a heart to care.
We all have neighbors with whom we have barely had a complete conversation, let alone made time to build deep and authentic connections. Often, this stems from a lack of understanding of the huge importance of befriending our neighbors and sharing the love of Christ.
So, let’s pray for understanding hearts, ones who care more deeply for those around us than we do for our own comfort, convenience, or daily agenda. Then, pray for eyes to truly see those around us, eyes not fixed on our own busyness and to-do list, but rather on the people the Lord has placed in our communities. Let’s ask for God’s vision for reaching our neighbors. He will undoubtedly answer our prayers!
2. Pray for opportunities to reach out, and the fortitude and intentionality to follow through.
Once our hearts are in the right place, we can pray for opportunities to build relationships with our neighbors. Those around us are often just as busy as we are, so unless we are praying for open doors and for the will to intentionally take advantage of the opportunities when they do arise, they may just slip by unnoticed. As we work to build trust, our consistency and follow-through are key.
3. Pray for receptive hearts.
We don’t know what our neighbors are currently going through or what their worldview may be, but God does. We can ask His Spirit to touch their hearts and make them receptive not only to our invitations to get together, but also to the words He leads us to speak.
4. Pray for God to speak His powerful, incisive words through us.
Lastly, let’s cover those anticipated conversations in prayer. Let’s ask for His wisdom and discernment to guide our words. Finally, we can seek the Lord’s blessing on our efforts to genuinely connect with, love, and serve our communities.
And then sit back and watch what He does with your willingness to obey and live out His great commission, right where you are, in your very own neighborhood!
It can feel rather uncomfortable to reach out to people we don’t even know. But it is part of our Great Commission from our Lord, and it is worth the awkwardness it may take to get there!
Step out in faith and obedience, and the Lord will do the rest!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!