We have discovered that it is not difficult to pray with people – if you love God and love people then we simply need to find a way to connect them to the God who loves them!
Most of us will be meeting people every day – neighbours, work colleagues, parents at the school gate, in shops or walking in the park – so there are many opportunities. The first step might be to pray when we get up in the morning and ask God to flood our lives with His love and compassion for people, and to show us those that He would like us to connect with. If we are overflowing with the Spirit of God, then that is what people will sense! Try a smile on your face as you say hello! We are aware of five key stages to have in mind which could open up the possibility of praying for the person.
Stage one: Commit to being intentional!
In other words ‘just do it’!
Stage two: Connect
Just by showing an interest in them or what they are doing, a friendly encouraging comment will usually open the way. Simply by asking them how they are, or if they are having a good day can lead to the next stage. We find that simply by going for a walk in the park and chatting to people, especially dogwalkers, is a great way to make a connection. Most of us have neighbours – lets focus on building friendly relationships and discover what they are interested in.
Stage three: Communicate
conversation is two way, but also we need to listen to the prompting of Holy Spirit, who is our Helper in this endeavour. The conversation will probably start off talking about ‘every day’ things, but trust God to show you the moment to introduce the topic of faith, or share your belief in the power of prayer in the name of Jesus.
We have had so many opportunities like this, even sharing faith with an atheistic scientist who was telling us of his love for ornithology. Geoff asked him if he could explain why there were so many varieties of birds – and this led to a very interesting conversation and in fact, prayer for him to come to know the Lord. Another time when approached by a man looking for those who would sign up to support the Lifeboat association, Jane found a perfect opportunity by saying we were in the same line of business – saving lives! That certainly opened up the way for prayer!
Stage four: Compassion
Let the love of God be your guide if the conversation gives you an opportunity to offer prayer. It is not difficult to ask if there is anything the person would like prayer for! For example, if you discover they or someone they care for is sick, ask if you can pray for them. Often people will not expect you to pray at that moment, and may feel self-conscious or embarrassed if people around notice what is happening.
Of course we must assure them that it will simply look like two people having a chat, but be believing and expecting the Holy Spirit to move upon them. Be wise, avoid looking ‘religious’ – raising your hands to heaven, laying hands on them, and shaking all over!! The Lord is well able to impact them without all that activity!
Stage five: Consolidate
If the person has been open to prayer then seek an opportunity to share the gospel message, with non-religious language. It is always helpful to have some good tracts with you for these occasions, so they have something to read and ponder afterwards.
Jane and Geoff Blease
Living Stones Ministries
Equipping the church – reaching the nations