This week, I’ll be writing about the relationship between a healthy prayer life and a healthy dose of evangelism in the life of a believer. For stock quotes, comments on international politics, or my picks for this year’s World Series, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don’t think this should take a lot of time—the principles I want to lay out here are simple. Here’s the deal: Take a high school student who spends all of his time in his church’s youth group playing basketball with the pew rats. How much time do you think he prays? Certainly before dinner, when his parents make him. Maybe before lunch, if he remembers, or if he feels particularly righteous. But not before breakfast. The kid has a spiritual alarm clock like a Calvinist looking for a date—pretty girl in the room? Better start praying.
Let’s be frank: The kid has nothing to pray for. Why would he pray? So that the church band would play his favorite song on Sunday morning? So that he would be team captain of the basketball squad? These things are real, and he might well pray for them every now and then—but they don’t captivate a soul. The Holy Spirit doesn’t light someone on fire for the glory of God because of those prayers. The end result of his prayers might be that he hears the song or gets a C on his jersey (if the Lord wills), but it won’t be that his love for God plants a thirst for the Lord in him.
What’s missing are the big goals that Christ meant for us to pursue. The largest goal for a man to pursue is men. Christ made us to be fishers of men, to reap a harvest from God’s field, and when we engage in seeking the lost and praying for them, we suddenly have something real and tangible to ask God for—salvations. Then, we can pray, because we are reminded that we have important work that we want God to do; then, we pray more, because we start to see God moving around us and answering our prayers; then, we are encouraged to engage more fully in evangelism, because we know that God goes before us; then, we pray more still, because we have more to pray for and higher expectations of the Lord’s answers to those prayers; then, we engage even more in evangelism, and the cycle continues ad nauseum.
So how do you do it, if you don’t have any lost around you, or if you feel you should be praying more? You should pray. First, pray for God to give you a share of the harvest and make you fruitful. Get rid of your sin at this point—you don’t have time for it, particularly if the Lord brings some folks who don’t know Him around you. Your spiritual potency has a direct connection to your relationship with God, which is damaged by sin. If you don’t want to waste your time, things like masturbation, comparison of yourself to others, body image insecurities, and other petty sins have got to go. If you’re a temple of God, indwelt with the Holy Spirit, live like it, as an investment into the ways He’ll work through you when your evangelism begins.
Second, pray for God to give you a thirst for prayer, and figure out some system to remind yourself to pray. As your prayer life deepens this will happen naturally, and you won’t have to remind yourself to pray as often, but before it does, pray that God will make you faithful to Him and passionate in the area of prayer. Is it stupid to pray for prayer? Yes, it is—I get laughed at a good amount for it. Is it more stupid NOT to pray for prayer, and have a prayer life like Michael Jackson’s mansion (cold, dark and alone)? Yes, it is. Therefore, man up and pray for prayer.
And that’s it. I just want to tell you all good luck. We’re all counting on you.
Lord, thank You for the way You work in our lives! I pray that You would use us, and that we would seek to participate in Your work—please give us a deeper desire to pray, and please give us a harvest from Your field. I ask that You would save our friends that don’t know You, Lord, and that You would be chipping away at the hardness of their hearts before we even meet them. God, we trust You, and we know that Your ways are perfect. Please glorify Your name in us. In Jesus’ Name,