When Prayer Needs a Voice

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Wishes aren’t prayers. Prayer is more than a happy thought. It’s an action. It’s spilling your heart straight to God.

Bible Reading: James 5:16-18

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results—James 5:16.

Herb stood back, thumbs hooked in his armpits, admiring his baby-room paint job. His wife Beatrice spread Winnie-the-Pooh stick-ons all over the wall. They set up the crib, acquired an arsenal of diaper-changing supplies, and filled the dresser with baby clothes. They waited for the baby they were adopting to arrive, staring at each other blankly when none showed up on their doorstep.

And then they remembered they hadn’t called the adoption agency!

It works the same way with friends being reborn into God’s kingdom. Wishes aren’t prayer. You can think all you want about how fantastic it will be when your non-Christian friends trust Christ. But those wishes are ultimately as effective as waiting for Storks ‘R Us to deliver the baby you plan to adopt. Until you pray, you haven’t done the one thing that brings people to spiritual birth.

Prayer is more than a happy thought. It’s an action. It’s spilling your heart straight to God. And here are some ways you can become an active pray-er:

  • Pray regularly-start by thanking God and praising him for his greatness.
  • Pray alone over your personal list of non-Christian friends.
  • Pray for non-Christians with a small group of friends. Meet with friends at church or on campus to pray about your witness to non-Christians.
  • Pray with other Christians as you walk around your campus, but not in a showy parade of the holier-than-thou club. Just walk around the areas where kids clump and ask God to set your peers free to know him.

Prayer is the big gun, your ultimate spiritual weapon. And the biggest thing you can pray about for your non-Christian friends is that they hear and respond to the Good News. You can let God know you would like to be a part of that.

However, prayer is just your first job-it isn’t your only job. At some point your friends who don’t know Christ need to hear the truth about what it means to be a Christian and be challenged to trust Christ. They need to know what Christ has done to provide forgiveness for their sin. They need an invitation to accept God’s gift of salvation-ditching the thought that they can save themselves and admitting that only what Christ has done will get them close to God and into heaven.

You can pray for your friends until you’re hoarse but you’ll eventually need your voice to share the Good News with them. To become Christians, the people you’re praying for must hear the Good News and respond to it by trusting Christ.

REFLECT: Why has God given you the privilege of praying for friends?

PRAY: Talk to God about your attitude about praying for non-Christians. Tell him if you are eager-or apathetic.

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