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February 2, 2015

LET'S ADVANCE THE KINGDOM ... and make a difference in this unstable, chaotic world

Last month we were encouraged to embark on a 3-Step Plan to impact our culture for Christ. God longs for our lives to make a difference for eternity. He loves us and desires to bless us in more ways than we can imagine. This plan includes (1) The Great Commitment: Praying for our neighbors (1Timothy 2:1-4), (2) The Great Commandment: Lovingly caring for our neighbors (Mark 12:28-31) and (3) The Great Commission: Faithfully sharing the “good news” with our neighbors (Matthew 28:19-20).

Why should we pray for, love on and share the “good news” with our neighbors?

As followers of Jesus Christ, we should be eager to obey the Scriptures, not out of duty, but out of devotion to our loving Lord. By following this 3-Step Plan, we will experience great joy and blessing as we pray, care and share the "good news" and see God draw our neighbors to Himself.  Let's look at Step 1:

Step 1 - The Great Commitment: A Prayer Focus

We are to pray for the salvation of our neighbors and all those in authority. We read in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Today, just as in the Apostle Paul’s day, there are those who seem to question the validity of praying for the salvation of our neighbors. So, to drive home his point, Paul tells them that praying for the salvation of souls is good” and “pleases God.”  We also see in this passage the importance of a balanced prayer life: REQUESTS for ourselves, INTERCESSIONS and THANKSGIVING for our neighbors and our God.

Prayer is a vital part of God’s Plan for reaching our unbelieving neighbors (Romans 10:1). Through our praying, the Holy Spirit will provide opportunities to establish relationships, avenues for meeting needs and begin to soften hearts for receiving the "good news." Praying for our neighbors must not be a one-time thing. Luke tells us to “pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1) and Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17). Keep asking God to go before you, soften hearts and open avenues for contacts to be made. In the book of Acts, we read that the believers were “constantly in prayer”, crying out to God (Acts 1:14). The believers prayed and people were saved.   Do you have a tendency to give up rather than being persistent in your prayer life? Paul also talks about “laboring earnestly”……in prayer (Colossians 4:12). When we pray, we should be persistent, passionate and positive, expecting answers from God. The more persistent we are in our praying, the more sensitive we will be to God’s guidance. Pray with all your heart for your neighbors and believe God will respond. James tells us “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). The most powerful thing we can do is pray. Nothing will motivate us to spend more time in prayer than seeing our prayers answered.

Join me in putting this 3-Step Plan into action. Begin today by including this “great adventure” as part of your mission plan for 2015. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a passion for prayer, provide creative ways to connect with your neighbors and begin preparing their hearts to receive the “good news.”

Prayer:

Father, thank you for the blessings of knowing you. Thank you for drawing me to yourself and opening the door to receive you as my Savior and Lord. I want to follow in your foot steps. Make me sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and begin preparing me for sharing and my neighbor for receiving. Use me as an intercessor, a channel of your love, and a mouthpiece for sharing the “good news” with my neighbors.

 

Next month we will dig deeper into Step 2 of this 3-Step Plan: The Great Commandment.

 

Dave Dagwell

Assistant to the President