One of the objectives of the Outreach Committee is to equip and mobilize West Church for evangelism. At present, most of the Home Fellowship Groups have been discussing the book, Share Jesus Without Fear by William Fay. If you have not read the book I encourage you to do so for your personal edification in the area of personal evangelism. In one of the final chapters of the book, the author challenges Christians to daily start praying for lost people. I want to share some of his thoughts with you as a challenge for all of us at West Church. I have expanded some of his ideas with my own in attempt to have us catch the vision of how transforming and fruitful it would be if we were daily praying like this. Oh what glorious things would happen in our community! So please consider the following five prayer topics for your reflection and action. If you put these into practice, I believe you and us will not be the same old Christian or the same old West Church!
First, that God would give you an opportunity each day to speak gospel truth to someone. Here we are praying that God will sovereignly arrange for you to intersect with a person who needs to hear about Jesus and his saving work. God can do this. Are you willing to believe this? God is powerful enough to arrange and place people in our lives for us to speak gospel truth. The key is: are we ready, open and willing to speak when the opportunity comes? So this means waking up everyday expecting to have contact with someone who needs to hear the gospel. We may not have the opportunity to share the whole gospel, but we can and should ‘sow some seeds of truth’. If we are at home, shut in, or not able to get out, we can still speak to people by phone or believe that God will place unbelievers on your heart to pray for that day.
Second, that God would help you to see unbelieving people as Jesus sees them. How does Jesus see them? He sees them as sons and daughters of Adam who are lost sheep without a shepherd, in darkness, spiritually blind, under condemnation, sin-sick, burdened with sin and the consequences of sinning, in need of repentance and faith for the forgiveness of sins and salvation. Do we have eyes to see people as they are apart from Christ? Every day we rub shoulders or have contact with unbelievers while shopping, in our neighborhoods, at work, at school, at family gatherings, and in our times of recreation. The point of this prayer is that God will give us ‘a burden for their souls’ in the condition they are in apart from Christ.
Third, that people will see Jesus in us. Here we are praying that because of the way we speak, how we respond and interact with people, how we look at life, our priorities, our values, our desires; that they will see us as followers of Jesus. This prayer will help us evaluate our lives and ask do my deeds, attitudes, the way I live back up my speaking about Jesus? Does the way I live my life adorn the gospel that I share with people?
Fourth, that God will give us boldness to speak the gospel when opportunity is given. This prayer helps us address our fear, weakness, and timidity about speaking about Jesus and the gospel. This prayer will help us to be ‘unashamed of the gospel’ as Paul shares in Romans 1:16. So many times in my life I have allowed fear to rule and have committed the ‘sin of silence’ when God had opened the door for the gospel. I don’t want to be ruled by fear but by love for God and love for my neighbor.
Fifth, that God will give power when we speak. This prayer has to do with the fruit, the effects, and impact on unbeliever’s lives. It is only the power of the Holy Spirit that can changes lives not our words. Here we are praying that we will be vessels for the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit so that people will be drawn to Jesus in repentance and faith. So stop, reflect and think with me how radical, how powerful, how different we could be individually and collectively if we daily pleaded with God for these five prayers to be built in our lives. I challenge you and me to start doing some ‘Outreach Praying’ and see what God is going to do.
On behalf of the Outreach Committee, (Becky Brown, Vi Cook, Sharon Coviello, Don Hall, Sheila
Kelly, Karen Moniz, Melissa Teal, and Bill Thorburn)