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Prayerful Evangelism

Description

We must talk to God about people before we talk to people about God.

Evangelism will not be effective because of methods or skills, but because of a solid foundation of prayer. The whole process of cultivating quality relationships for Christ must begin with prayer, be sustained by prayer, and end with prayer as God produces the fruit. The true battle is waged on the field of prayer. Thus, when prayer is reduced to an afterthought in evangelism, the proverbial cart is placed before the horse.

How to Pray

First, we are to devote ourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2). We should persevere and not lose heart as we pray for others. Second, we should “pray at all times in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). We must be sure that there is no hindrance of unconfessed sin or improper motives in our hearts. Third, Paul tells us in both passages to keep alert in our prayers. Where prayer prevails, power falls. Fourth, we are to pray “with an attitude of thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). This is an expectant attitude that God is at work in our lives and in the lives of those for whom we are praying.

What to Pray

First, we should pray for an open door for the word, that is, the right opportunities to share the gospel. Second, we should pray for an open mouth (Ephesians 6:19), so that we will make use of Spirit-prepared opportunities. Third, we should pray for clarity in our presentation (Colossians 4:4). Fourth, we should pray for boldness in proclaiming the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19-20). This boldness is not the same as brazenness or brashness; rather, it means to speak freely, openly, and without embarrassment when the opportunity arises.

For Whom to Pray

In Colossians 4:3, Paul says, “praying at the same time for us as well.” Believers involved in the front-line activity of relational evangelism need to pray for one another. Also, we need to pray specifically for the outsiders that God has brought into our lives.

Prayer is the prelude to all effective evangelism. The process of cultivation begins on our knees. As D.L. Moody reminds us, we must talk to God about people before we talk to people about God.

Some Christians have developed a "we-versus-they" mentality, thinking that unbelievers are the enemy. But unbelievers are not the enemy; they are victims of the enemy:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).

With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:25-26).

According to these texts, people without Christ are spiritually blinded, spiritually dead, and held captive by Satan. We must avoid the wrong reactions of treating them with contempt, avoiding them like vermin, and judging them. We tend to judge the world and talk to ourselves when we should be judging ourselves and talking to the world.

It is important for us to realize that unbelievers will have difficulty in understanding and responding to the Gospel. The fruit comes from the root, and we should not expect regenerate behavior from unregenerate people. Finally, we should remember their spiritual condition and recall that we were once in the same plight.

This is taken from Ken Boa’s Handbook to Spiritual 

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