Praying for the Lost by Name

The Bible consistently speaks of two groups of people, those who know Christ and those who have rejected Christ (Matthew 25:31-41; Romans 1:16). To know Christ is to experience His love and mercy by acknowledging your sin and placing your faith in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross (Romans 5:1-2). Jesus died for sinners to experience God’s grace rather than suffer the torment of hell itself (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). This is foundational to the gospel message. Evangelical believers everywhere believe that God has commanded them to share the good news that Jesus died for sinners so each person can have the opportunity to love God and to experience His mercy (Matthew 28:18-20). We cannot rest until everyone knows the life-changing message of the gospel.

Because it is so urgent that everyone would know Christ and His mercy, I am leading our church to pray for three friends, co-workers, neighbor, or family members by name. There is maintenance praying where we pray for the physical needs of Christians and the church. But there is also frontline praying, where we pray for a zeal to spread God’s grace to the unchurched. I am calling on our church for frontline praying, where God stirs our heart and soul to see a revival His grace among people who have yet to call on Christ as Lord and Savior.

So, I am asking each person in our church family to join me in praying for three unchurched persons. Specifically, these are three people who have yet to place their faith in Jesus Christ. This time of prayer can by done as a family, with a prayer partner, or even as you walk through your street, business area, school, or neighborhood. You can pray at home or join together during Sunday morning Bible study groups. In essence, this is a quiet time when you push away from the world to seek the Lord on behalf of your friends.

Our time in prayer is designed to invite God’s Spirit to move against Satan who desires to deceive and distort people to the truth of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). This time is also designed for you to pray for your sensitivity to others. Yes, we are asking the Lord to draw our unchurched friends to Himself but we are also asking the Lord to grant us a renewed sense of compassion and boldness to share God’s love. I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you wisdom to know what to say when opportunities present itself (Philemon 6).

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The Cross at NRHBC

As you enter our building, you will see a cross with names on the top of it. These names were placed on the cross during a special Sunday evening prayer time on September 8. This time was devoted to praying for our unchurched friends and love ones. The names are just some of the people we are praying for in the next few months.

I invite and challenge you to add the names of your friends from school, co-workers, family members, and neighbors to the cross as well in the coming days. I want to see this cross completely filled in the coming days. Place the names of children who have yet to know Christ. Write down the names of people through our bus ministry who have yet to profess Christ. Or, jot down the names of Spanish-speaking friends who are near to you that God may add to our Spanish-speaking service at 10:45.

So take a few minutes before or after worship in the new few Sundays and quietly place the names of people you are praying for on the cross. Write the names down on business card and place this in a prominent place to remind you to pray for them regularly. Join me in asking God to draw much of the mid-cities of Dallas/Fort Worth to Jesus Christ in the days to come (John 6:44). Examine carefully the cross as you pass by it and consider it a holy place, dedicated to God. Pray with me for the names found there and pray that we would experience a revival of God’s spreading God’s rich grace toward sinners (Matthew 9:35-37).

Let’s saturate our community, streets, businesses, schools, and family in prayer. Let’s ask the Lord to give us a compassion and zeal to reach the lost in the DFW metroplex. Let’s see an awakening where multitudes of people experience the grace of God in the coming days.

Related Posts: What Motivates People to Share the Gospel?

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I’m a New Christian – What’s Next?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been talking to several new Christians. While these new Christ-followers range in age from near retirement to the beginning years of college, their question is the same: “Now that I am a Christian, what do I do next?”

I can understand why many people have asked this question as many churches and pastors are quite skilled at explaining how to become a Christian but we are tragically neglectful in pointing new Christians to the next step(s). In light of this confusion, let me encourage you to pursue four avenues simultaneously.

1. Understand Grace. Unlike every other religion, Christianity teaches grace. Christians are made by grace. There is nothing like it in the entire world for the Biblical view of grace is without comparison. Few words capture the essence of Christianity like the word grace. Grace is used to describe Jesus Himself (John 1:14, 17). And Jesus’ impact upon his followers is grace on top of grace (John 1:16).

Grace was, no doubt, explained to you in the process of your decision to follow Christ, but what may surprise you is that you’ll spend the remainder of your days exploring and discovering new vistas of God’s grace for you. Grace is God’s kindness and mercy toward you when you don’t deserve it. Grace is God’s actions toward you when you deserved hell itself. But grace is also the way you are built up in the days after your conversion (Acts 20:32). So, grace starts your journey, but it is also acts as your guide in navigating everything else (Titus 2:11-12). Pay close attention so that you can experience everything grace has to offer.

2. Go to Church. So many Christians hear the message of grace only in terms of their own individual lives. The false start of Christianity is that you can live this life in isolation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity brings you a new family. You’ll need this family in the coming days. You’ll need their encouragement, their love, and their accountability.

The church needs you in the coming days as well. As you mature, other Christians will need your love and your encouragement. God designs every Christian with certain gifts and your gifts make up the church just as every your physical body needs the various parts of your body.

Staying connected with a church cannot depend on when you feel like it. Instead, you must make a decision to participate in a church and follow through even when you do not feel like it. If you go by your feelings, you’re likely to find tragedy and loneliness in the coming days as you fail to stay connected to other Christians (Hebrews 10:25).

Make sure the church you choose has at least three ingredients to it.

2.1 Be Sure the Church Teaches the Bible. Every pastor has their own personality. Whatever his personality, he should continually ask you to track with him in the pages of the Bible.

2.2 Be Sure You Are Involved in Small Group Bible Study. Besides knowing God’s Book better, this will provide you with a excellent opportunity to make friends with other Christians. Don’t settle on friendships that are only, “Hello,” as you enter the worship center and, “Nice to See You,” on the way out. The Bible continually calls on Christians to show hospitality to one another (1Peter 4:9). You’ll need counsel from others and you’ll give counsel to others on a wide-range of matters. Plus, longterm Christians friends will bring you a great deal of joy throughout your life.

2.3 Be Sure You’re Church Connects You to Different Generations. It’s been said that the American church has been racially divided for a long time. Yet, today’s church is also generationally divided. More and more of our churches are styled to make themselves attractive to one generation. You can’t let this happen to you. You’ll find so many good things come your way when you connect to people outside of your generation. Younger men need older men and older women need younger women (Titus 2:2-3).

3. Read Your Bible. I know it can be confusing when going to a bookstore to find a Bible as there are so many choices. Nevertheless, find a readable translation such as the English Standard Version (my translation when preaching) or New American Standard Bible, the New King James Bible, or the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Once you have found a translation, you are comfortable with, I would encourage you to read the Gospels first. Be sure to look the Table of Contents over as you’ll notice the Bible has an Old Testament and a New Testament. You’ll want to find the New Testament where the first four books are called Gospels. I would encourage you to start reading there.

When reading the Gospels, you will essentially reading the best biographies on the life of Jesus Christ. If you read straight through the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) you’ll find they repeat themselves a great deal. That’s fine as people have read and reread these stories their entire lives. You will continue to come back to these pages for comfort and inspiration for years to come.

4. Share the Gospel with Your Friends and Family. There will be some massive changes in your life as well as some gradual changes. The people closest to you will wonder why you have changed. I want to encourage you to share your experience with Jesus Christ with them as you weave the story of the Gospel into your story. Paul would often do this (see Acts 24 and Acts 26).

One of the best ways to share what has happened to you is to invite your friends and family to your baptism. While baptism doesn’t save you, it’s important as it communicates to everyone around you the important change that has occurred in your life. You’ll want to follow through with your conversion by being baptized just as Christians throughout time have done. Your friends and family can participate in this special time by coming to church with you on the day you’re baptized.

So there are four items that I encourage to put into practice in your life. There is much more to see and learn in your Christian journey and that will come. But be encouraged by God’s love and mercy for you. You were a rebel and God’s grace chased you down!