People who might not immediately be interested in hearing about Christ often will respond positively to our offer to pray for them. When they see God answer their prayers, it can create a deeper interest in the gospel. Examples include the response to the miraculous healing of the blind man in Acts 3, Cornelius in Acts 10, and others. Notice that those answers to prayer created opportunities to introduce many others to Christ.
In this first step, you:
- Let people know that you pray for people.
- Ask if you may pray for specific things in their life.
- Pray regularly and faithfully for them and for their needs.
- Check back periodically to see how God is answering your prayers, and to see if they have other prayer requests.
Here is how this might work:
The chaplain for one of the Australian basketball teams noticed that one of the players came to a game late one day and looked shaken up. He asked what was wrong. The basketball player said that he had just been in a car accident. The chaplain asked, “is everyone OK?”
“Yes”, replied the player, “but I have lost my focus for the game”.
“Would it be OK if I prayed for you?” asked the chaplain.
“Right now?”, replied the bewildered player.
“Well, there isn’t much time before the game starts”, the chaplain pointed out. “I don’t want to embarrass you in front of the other players, so how about if I put my hand on your shoulder and pretend I’m talking with you when I pray?”.
This was fine with the player, so the chaplain said a short prayer asking that God would give the player focus. When he finished, the player said “Is that all you are going to say?”
The chaplain responded, “Is there anything else you want me to pray for?”
“No”, the player responded.
“Well then get out there and play basketball”.
After the game the player came up to the chaplain all excited. “I can’t believe how focused I was”, he exclaimed.
“Well, you asked me to pray for you”, the chaplain reminded him.
From then on before every game the player asked the chaplain for prayer.
As you continue to pray for people and those in their relational networks, you will be looking for other ways to show that you really care about them. In this second step, you:
- Learn more about them and show genuine interest by asking appropriate questions.
- Seek ways to demonstrate care for them and their families.
- Take initiative to do various acts of kindness in light of their needs.
- Develop a closer friendship with them because of involvement in their lives.
As you continue to pray for people and show that you care through acts of kindness, you will be looking for opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus with them. In this third step,you:
- May share your personal story of faith in God.
- Take opportunities, as they arise, for sharing the Gospel.
- Take opportunities to invite them to group activities where the gospel will be shared.
- Take opportunities to invite them to church or small group activities where they will be able to experience authentic Christianity.
These may or may not happen in this order. The important thing is that you pray for people, genuinely care for them, build relationships with them, and seek opportunities to bring them and those they are close to into a relationship with Christ