When I think of praying for my friends to come to know Jesus Christ I am reminded of the story told to me by Pete Greig, of an amazing man called DL Moody. DL Moody prayed daily for 100 of his friends to come to know Christ. During his life, 96 of those friends gave their lives to Christ and at his funeral the final 4 gave their lives.
What an utterly amazing man. I absolutely believe in the power of prayer, I’m also desperate for so many of my friends to come to know Christ, so why do I find it so hard to find the time, have the dedication and build in a regular pattern of prayer for 10 of my friends let alone 100?
To be fair, me and discipline have never been ‘friends’. I go on a diet, a few days in I’ve opened a large bar of Cadburys chocolate or helped myself to a glass of Shiraz and the diet is long forgotten. I start running 3 times a week, week 1 amazing but by week 3 I’m down to once and by week 4 I’ve returned to being a coach potato!
But when I do find I’m naturally and regularly praying is when I pray for someone I really, really love, like my brother, Ben. He’s probably the person I love most dearly who isn’t in a relationship with Jesus. Ben is successful and happy – he’s kind, generous and caring but doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus and I know what a difference it would make for him and his whole family to come to know Christ. It’s so easy, I think of him and smile, then I pray for him. It’s not arduous or laborious, it’s entirely natural. I love God, I love Ben and I long for Ben to know him.
So for me it has to be entirely heart-driven so it’s not the latest thing that I’ve promised to do.
My husband, who is far more structured, writes the names down and every day prays for those people – because they’re written down and that’s what he does, every day. I wish I was more like him but I need to find other ways, little prompts. One of things we have done for Thy Kingdom Come is giving out our prayer band, where you tie five knots and you commit to praying regularly for five people you know. It’s brilliant, and works as it reminds you to pray for them. Another thing we’ve done for Thy Kingdom Come is to make a little mug with pray for five written on – the intention being if you’re going to have a cup of tea, pray for five people. It’s a simple reminder. Find commonality, one of my friends wears the same brand and number lipstick, Rimmel 105, I pray for her whenever I put it on! Prayer mate app for your phone is another great way to be given those little nudges.
Life is busy but what is key is finding what works for your personality.
If you’re in a small group you can easily make a habit of praying for people – you could all agree that you pray for a certain number of people and you become accountable to that group. Maybe each week it could become a habit to pray for all of them together?
At Thy Kingdom Come we say five because it’s a manageable number – it doesn’t have to be five it could be one, it could be three.
If you’re not sure who to pray for, have a think – are you a God-parent, do you have a friend, a neighbour, someone you know who you really care for and would love to see in a relationship with Christ?
It does start with prayer, everything starts with prayer, we can’t do anything on our own – but God can open hearts and minds and give us the most amazing opportunities to share our faith.