Prayer is often a guilt area for Christian leaders. We want to help you move from guilt to growth and to Lead Different. Here are ten practical ideas to turn the temperature up on prayer, particularly prayer for people who don’t yet follow Jesus:
1. Make a list of three to four people you know who don’t yet follow Jesus. Write these names on a post-it note or inside the cover of your Bible. Then make a point of praying for these people every day.
2. Start your day by simply asking God to give you an opportunity to share the gospel in words or deeds. Then keep your eyes and ears open as you journey through your day.
3. Dr. Paul Borthwick (Missionary, author and long-time Arrow Leadership ProgramTM trainer) encourages people to let their clothes focus their prayers. Here’s how it works. Take a look at the label of your top. Where was it made? You can pray for God to open doors in that country, for God to raise up workers, and for Jesus followers in that country. You can also pray specifically that the person who made your top would personally know God’s great love and become a follower of Jesus. You can end up praying for the world just by looking in your closet!
4. Pray silently for strangers you pass by during the day. When I run in the mornings, I often pass students on their way to school. I sometimes pray, “Lord, I pray that this young person would come to know you and experience your love for them.”
5. Some friends set their watch alarms for 10:02 each day. They chose that time because of Luke 10:2 which reads, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” So when the alarm goes off, they stop what they are doing and take a moment to pray this verse. They acknowledge that the harvest is plentiful and ask God to send out workers into his harvest field. They pray for more workers, and they also pray for workers who would be clear, creative and bold communicators of the gospel.
6. When you pass a church building, pray for the pastor, leadership and ministry of that church.
7. When you plan special events and outreach opportunities be sure to be intentional about a prayer strategy. Too often all the effort goes into planning and marketing the event, while prayer becomes an afterthought.
8. Pray for spiritual awakening in your own town/city and country.
9. Remember that most people will not stop you from praying for them. So when you are in conversation and the person shares a need, ask if you can pray for them right then and there. Most people are humbled and grateful that someone else would do so. This kind of spontaneous prayer plants spiritual seeds and provides an opportunity for them to see God answer.
10. There are a number of apps that can help you pray for the work of the gospel around the world. For example, Joshua Project’s “Unreached of the Day” app gives some basic background and prayer items for a different unreached people group every day. The “Operation World” app is another simple tool that guides you daily into having a global impact through prayer.
What’s one step you can take today to turn up the temperature on prayer?
Cheering you on to Lead Different,
Dr. Steve Brown
President, Arrow Leadership