By Chuck Lawless on Mar 03, 2023
Many of us walk through our neighborhoods on regular walks. Almost all of us drive through our communities on a daily basis. What we often fail to do is use these times to pray. If I were praying during either of these opportunities, here are some things I would look for to focus my praying:
- Evidence of children in a home. Maybe there are toys in drive or a swing set in the back yard. Perhaps the kids are playing outside. When I see these evidences, I pray for (a) wisdom for parents, and for (b) grace that the parents and the children would know the Lord.
- “For Sale” signs in the yard. Here, I pray that the family moving out would experience a gospel witness and find a church home wherever they’re moving. I then pray for the family moving in that (a) if they’re believers, we could join forces to reach the neighborhood, or (b) if they’re not believers, someone—beginning with my wife and me—would be a witness to them.
- Places of worship. If it’s a church, I pray that the true gospel would be preached there. If the place of worship represents another non-Christian faith, I pray God would turn its adherents to the true gospel—and that Christians in the community would be loving witnesses to them.
- Homes in apparent disarray. Often, those signs indicate some kind of chaos in that home. That could be anything from family conflict to unemployment to health issues to aging homeowners—but prayer is in order. God knows what’s going on behind the closed doors.
- Neighbors also walking or driving through the neighborhood. I may or may know the person, but simply seeing him or her deepens and focuses my burden for my neighbors. Somehow, briefly looking with gospel intentionality into the face of someone created in the image of God changes my heart.
- Places of education. As a Christian educator, I know how much we need prayer every day. How much more that seems apparent for administrators, teachers, and students in the public school system! I pray particularly that Christians of all ages in that context would be strong witnesses for Christ within that setting.
- Sites of government leadership. Paul told us to pray “for kings and all those who are in authority” (2 Tim 2:2)—and seeing the place where leaders serve reminds me to pray for them. Frankly, I need this reminder to pray salvation and wisdom for folks with whom I often disagree politically.
- Places of business. I typically pick one place of business as I drive to work each day and pray for its owners. More recently, I’ve begun praying for any business I visit (e.g., a grocery store, a restaurant, a barber, a gas station, etc.). The prayer targets are right there in front of me—I just have to be intentional.
- Places of “life and death” service. Here, I’m thinking of places like hospitals, fire stations, police departments, prisons, funeral homes, and cemeteries. Because I believe Christ and the gospel are the key to abundant and eternal life, I pray for those who deal with life and death issues every day.
- My own home and workplace. Sometimes we pray for other people and places but fail to pray for ourselves. I’m still developing this habit, but I now pray for our home and for the seminary where I serve every time I park in the driveway or in the parking lot.
I hope these ideas encourage and help you to pray!