My Prayer Journey field team was prayerwalking near San Diego. We paused
to pray briefly in front of several small apartments. A young man came running
downstairs and asked if he could help us find someone. We responded: "No thank
you, our church is out praying for the community today. Is there anything we
can pray for you about?" The man looked shocked and slowly nodded his head. "I
was just upstairs praying that God would send someone to tell me He is real."
One member of field team smiled. "We're here."
Prayer really does make a difference. Not the hollow ritual prayers or
shallow rhymes of contemporary culture but the prayer that rekindles the spark
of holiness and differentiates humans from the rest of creation. In John 17
Jesus teaches believers to make a difference by interceding for believers,
praying evangelistically for unbelievers and praying personally for spiritual
Believers around the world are responding to God's call to reclaim a
personal passion for prayer. This is happening in ways to indicate a new
spiritual great awakening is at hand.
People are scrambling to find physical solutions to spiritual problems,
largely because believers have failed to show the relevance of God's Word and
the church. On mission believers can show this relevance--prayer is an
essential preparation for evangelism.
Readiness in Caring, Sharing, Praying
In Luke 19 Jesus summarized three primary functions for a relevant
1. Be ready to care for others.
Jesus took time to care about a seeker named Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5). The
first fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is love. Believers must be salt and
light by penetrating the darkness.
We have hidden too long in modern monasteries and allowed the world to rot
around us. It is time to reassert that Christ-empowered love has begun
hospitals, orphanages, schools and disaster relief. It is hard to find an
atheist society's hospital or orphanage.
My Prayer Journey field team had noticed a young woman crying on her porch.
The pastor spoke to her with obvious compassion. He asked if there was anything
we could do to help.
"Only if you brought some hope for the future," she said. The witnessing
team was prepared with copies of the booklet entitled "Here's Hope." The young
woman became a believer and brought several of her friends to Christ.
2. Be ready to share with others.
Jesus said, the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was
lost (Luke 19:10, NASB).
Believers must not let the culture embarrass us into silence. Jesus said,
I am the way,and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but
through Me (John 14:6, NASB). The culture would have us believe that Jesus
said, "I am some of the way, part of the truth and a little bit of the
Believers do not have to be silent at the threat of being "intolerant."
Truth by definition excludes error. This is not "turn or burn, cry or fry"
evangelism. It is the caring and compassionate evangelism that Jesus presents
in Luke 4:18.
3. Be ready to pray with and for others.
Jesus adamantly reminds people, My house shall be a house of prayer
(Luke 19:46, NASB).
Would Jesus find that your church is a house of prayer?
through a Great Commission prayer ministry Satan hates specific, biblical
prayer. That's why so much of our praying requires no faith or accountability.
Biblical prayer is not so much trying to change God's mind as it is letting Him
know we are ready for Him to answer "yes."
It is amazing how many people say God does not answer prayer because He
answers it "no" or "wait." Too much of our prayer as believers is trying to get
God to approve our agenda instead of learning about and participating in His
Satan also works very hard to keep us from praying at all. He tries to
convince us to keep prayer on the periphery instead as the priority.
A British friend once said, "You Yanks are so ingenious, you invented the
rocking chair so you keep moving even when you are sitting still." Busyness
robs us of personal, powerful time in prayer.
Chris Schofield, manager for prayer evangelism at NAMB, reminds us to keep
prayer foundational to everything done in and through the church. A Great
Commission prayer ministry helps us do just that. Schofield suggests that a
prayer ministry include these three purpose statements:
A Great Commission prayer strategy develops many events to help complete
these three purpose statements. Prayer Journeys are one excellent way for on
mission Christians to pray for their neighborhoods.
Evangelistic prayer isn't just for neighborhoods and apartment complexes.
Even students have the legal right to pray evangelistically for their schools.
(And as campuses have become danger zones for teachers and students alike, it's
more important than ever to pray for schools.)
Two ways students can get involved evangelistically are through See You
at the Pole and Campus Prayer Journeys. On September 15, 1999,
students around the world will gather for See You at the Pole, the largest student-led
prayer ministry in history. Timed to coincide with See You at the Pole,
Campus Prayer Journeys offer students and their families the opportunity
to prayerwalk their campuses. And it's all legal.
A student's legal right to free speech and expression--including religious
expression--doesn't disappear at the door of a school.
Information: See You at the Pole, 817-447-7526,www.syatp.com. Campus Prayer
Journeys, 501-376-4791, ext. 5222,www.studentz.com/prayer.
A Prayer Journey expands the idea of prayerwalking to involve every
person in the church to pray for and share Jesus with every person in the
According to Henry Blackaby, Prayer Journeys can help "churches to
establish a real, personal and corporate church that is a 'house of
A Prayer Journey field team takes prayer to the streets. They walk with eyes
open and heads up. Some pray softly aloud. Others drive, bicycle or take the
subway. One group in New Orleans meets each week to pray and inline skate
through the tourist district. Campus Prayer Journeys begin the evening
before See You at the Pole (see above).
Jerry and Yvonne came to Atlanta the weekend before the Southern Baptist
Convention. They found the prayer tent at the Centennial Olympic Park block
party. They took a customized Prayer Journey Pocket Guide and began to
walk and pray as a field team. They stopped at each of the 15 prayer station
signs that had been placed around the park and convention center. Each sign
listed prayer requests, a map of the Prayer Journey route, scripture
and inspirational quotes, and also held gospel tracts.
Jerry and Yvonne wrote: "For about an hour, we walked that entire park and
prayed at every sign and for every person who crossed our paths. We witnessed
to two young women from Germany and to a vendor. We spoke to a mother about her
faith and to two elderly ladies sitting on a wall. We shed tears over our
personal needs and how we desperately need God's blessing in our lives. We
cried and prayed for family members and friends who need the Lord. And we
praised the Lord for His bountiful blessings in our lives, in Atlanta and in
this world. "Our prayerwalk became an hour of deeply personal, intimate worship
while walking in one of America's largest cities. It was an awesome experience
that we shall not soon forget."
Prayer Journeys include support teams that remain at a prayer base.
One senior couple at the Centennial Park prayer tent said, "We can't walk as
far or as fast as we used to, but we won't miss the chance to pray for our
community and our church."
Support teams pray for the field teams, church staff and each
One support team in Spokane was led to go into the church parking lot. They
prayed that there would be enough visitors to fill every visitor's space. An
e-mail later confirmed the spots were full the next Sunday for the first time
Arms Around Atlanta
Prayer and Prayer Journeys made a difference in Atlanta. They also make a
difference in any community where prayer is taken to the streets. More than
2,100 people made professions of faith in Atlanta during the SBC. Pastor Woods
Watson of Arlington Park Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, participated with
several church members. "I'm not old enough to remember the Bay of Pigs
incident in Cuba," he said. "But I do know they call it that because the troops
arrived on the coast of Cuba with no air support. As a result, they were shot
like pigs. It was devastating.
"Prayer is needed the same way--as air cover for God's troops, and without
it, we would fail miserably."
For more information about prayer resources, call 800-448-8032 or visit
C. Thomas Wright is a prayer evangelism associate for the Prayer
Evangelism & Church Renewal Unit, NAMB.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC