Tim Sadler, IBSA Director of Evangelism and Discipleship
I once heard, “Prayer is requisitioning heaven’s resources.” The saving of the human soul is beyond my grasp. How helpless and humbled I have felt over the years as I climb the stairs to stand behind the holy desk on another Sunday morning knowing that I can do nothing apart from God. Prayer isn’t one of the pillar ministries of the church. It is in my estimation the foundational piece of every Kingdom ministry. If this is in fact the case, then we must call our people to pray. Here are four ideas to supercharge the evangelistic work of your church this fall.
- Start a focused prayer meeting (only evangelistic concerns).
- Weekday morning before work (men’s on one day and women’s on another day) or Weekday lunch (bring a sack lunch)
- Don’t pray for organs (illness, hospitalization, employment needs, etc.)
- Pray for:
- Vision and a burden
- lost people;
- friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members by name
- brokenness over the lostness in your city
- Adopt a neighborhood.
- Identify and adopt a segment of your community
- Commit to praying for them intentionally for six months (then you would identify another neighborhood for adoption and ministry)
- Have your “exercisers” prayer walk the neighborhood during the six months you are committed to them
- Go door to door informing the neighborhood that you have committed to pray specifically for them; ask them if they have any specific prayer needs for which you could be praying; Take GOOD notes! Revisit them in 30 days and ask them about that specific request…encourage them that your church has, in fact, been praying for the request. Ask for more prayer concerns.
- Look for ways to minister to this neighborhood and report any thoughts to church leadership so follow-up can be done
- One month hand out New Testaments and a loaf of bread to every home in the neighborhood telling them about Jesus being the Bread of Life.
- Designate a time in your Sunday morning services to pray
- Call your people to the altar every Sunday morning prior to the message to pray evangelistically
- Pray for people to be saved. Pray for your pastor and the message from God’s Word.
- Pray for the moving of the Holy Spirit
- Start a Spurgeon-type of “boiler room” prayer ministry
- Find a room where 2-6 people could pray during the worship service on a rotation (different volunteers every Sunday)
- Pray for lost people present in the service to hear the gospel message and be saved
- Pray for you pastor to be a conduit of God’s powerful Word
- Pray for the Spirit of God to move during the service
Rise and Pray: A Call to Reorient Sunday Mornings
For the last three years (I wish I could say 15) of my ministry I made the commitment to wake up
early and begin to prepare my heart for worship through prayer. I was even careful about what
music I listened to. In my new role as IBSA’s Evangelism Director I found myself thinking, “If I
am preaching in this church this morning, where are the rest of the guys on our team preaching
this morning?” So I have added this component to my Sunday morning (and sometimes even
Saturday night) prayer time.
This got me to thinking. I honestly desire that God move in such a powerful way through the
pastors of our state and the ministries our churches that I felt compelled to pray for every
Southern Baptist Church as I drive. So, while I drive throughout Illinois and see a church sign
for a Southern Baptist Church this is what I do…
1 – I pray for the pastor and his family
2 – I pray that the pastor has an evangelistic vision and strategy to reach that community
3 – I pray for a willing church body to follow the evangelistic leadership of their pastor
4 – I pray for lost people to be drawn to that church and that they find salvation through Jesus
Which really got me thinking...What would it look like and what would happen if Southern
Baptists all over the state of Illinois began to change their Sunday morning routine? Here is the
vision. A family gets up on Sunday morning just 10 minutes earlier and the first thing they do is
to gather as a family and begin to prepare their hearts for worship. Their prayer time could be to
pray through these things:
1 – We pray that your Spirit would move in power during our worship services today
2 – We pray that you would use our pastor today for your glory; help him preach with power and
3 – We pray that lost people would be there today and that they would be saved
4 – We pray that you would open our hearts to your Word today; teach us, mold us, change us
through the preaching and teaching of your Word today
5 – Convict us of sin and transform us
Can you imagine what could happen if thousands of Illinois Baptists would begin their Sunday
mornings “fixing their eyes on Jesus” and His purposes? What if Illinois Baptists were praying
every Sunday that lost people would be drawn supernaturally to the services and would be
saved? What if church members intentionally prayed for their pastor and his message? What
would it feel like as a pastor to hear someone in your congregation say, “I prayed for you this
morning pastor, for people to be saved, and for my heart to be changed today!” Quite honestly
I just began to weep at the thought of a concert of prayer rising to the throne room of God early
on Sunday morning from literally thousands of Illinois Baptists inviting God’s presence and
begging Him to save lost people. For the sake of the harvest, will you rise early and pray?
Director-Evangelism and Discipleship Ministries
Church Strengthening Team
Illinois Baptist State Association