Whether we realize it or not, prayer is one of the most effective tools we have in the battle to win people for Jesus Christ. The problem is, we often don’t engage in strategic prayer. Our prayers are centered around ourselves instead of others. We may ask that God gives us the strength to be a witness for Him — and that is good — but we fail to pray in a way that God can use to open people’s hearts.
The first thing we must realize is that the Holy Spirit draws people to salvation, not us. He speaks to hearts and woos them to Himself. He is the One who convicts us of sin and leads us to repentance. Jesus told us in John 16:13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (NIV).
Do you know someone who doesn’t know Jesus? Pray. Are you burdened for people around you who are lost and without hope? Pray. Spend time every day praying for the hearts of those who don’t yet know Jesus. Mention them by name to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts towards Him. Intercede on their behalf; then pray for opportunities to share God’s love with them.
As we begin to pray daily for the hearts of those around us, our own hearts begin to change. The Holy Spirit works in us and deepens our compassion for the lost. He breaks our hearts for the people we are lifting up in prayer; then He compels us to act.
When our hearts are broken for the lost, we cannot sit silently and watch the people we love die without the hope of knowing Jesus Christ. Ask God to open doors and give opportunity to share His love with the people we are praying for. God desires that we spread His Word. He commanded us, as believers, to share it (Matthew 28:19-20). So we can be confident that He will provide those opportunities. We just need to open our eyes and watch for them.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses…” (Acts 1:8, NIV). Opportunities to share our faith are everywhere around us. But when we start praying for them, we begin to see them clearly.
Don’t stop praying. Invite the Holy Spirit to join the conversation. He will give you the words to say. He will continue to work on the heart of the person who is hearing about God’s love. Pray that He will intervene in that person’s life and change it for eternity!
Prayer cannot be separated from witnessing. It is the essence of sharing our faith. We cannot reach someone’s heart without the Holy Spirit, and we reach the Holy Spirit through the power of prayer. So, I invite you to begin praying strategically for those around you. Rely on the Holy Spirit to open doors and guide you into conversations.
Then share the Gospel with boldness!
Rev. John B. Sorensen, D.D. is the President/CEO of Evangelism Explosion International, headquartered in Arden, N.C. EE has been a leader in equipping Christians to share their faith for more than 55 years. For more free tips and resources, visit our website. Follow John on Twitter @jbsorensen