Through prayer we connect with others, whether through intercession for people we do not even know or praying directly with a person.
Prayer also connects us with each other. Through prayer we connect with others too, whether through intercession for people we do not even know, or praying directly with a person.
Acts 2:42 tells us that believers in the Early Church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The writer adds, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (verses 46,47).
Something wonderful happens when the body of Christ comes together and prays together, whether personally, in groups, or around the altar. May we not lose that in our churches today! Something wonderful can also happen when we pray with people we have just met. The unique thing about prayer is that it provides a divinely ordained relational dynamic unlike any other mode of human interaction. When we pray for another person, directly or indirectly, we purposefully enter a sphere of relationship with that person that requires of us a heightened level of concern or compassion for that person. There is a connectedness that happens when we pray for one another that dissolves barriers and binds us together in godly love.
A few years ago, my wife Jan and I did door-to-door visitation through part of our neighborhood to get to know our neighbors, to see if they had a church home, and to offer prayer. In every instance when we offered to pray for someone, no one refused. In a world where many people are reluctant to allow others inside their “bubble,” prayer provides an acceptable means of interaction that “pops” the bubble and provides opportunity for acceptance, relationship building, restoration, and even salvation to take place. Non-Christians have no similar relational dynamic in their lives. The world offers no substitute for it relationally or spiritually. Prayer is a unique, God-given connector that forms bonds and brings about life-transforming change in lives for time and eternity.
Think about it: Multiplied thousands of total strangers from across the country call a 1-800-4-PRAYER prayer line each week to ask total strangers to pray with them because they are hurting physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They call because they believe prayer is helpful; but prayer is also a powerful, universal connector. Prayer opens doors. Prayer is an awesome avenue for ministry. That’s why we are instructed to “pray for each other” (James 5:16).
The dynamic relational connectivity of prayer makes prayer a powerful tool for evangelism as well. Though some people might be reluctant to mention a need for which they need prayer, most people will respond positively to an offer such as, “Before we go our way, would you mind if we have a word of prayer together?” It is then that the Holy Spirit can help direct our thoughts and words as we pray that something may be touched deeply within the heart of the other person. Such an opportunity should never be used to “preach-pray,” attempting to exhort the person along a certain line, but to sincerely seek the direction of the Holy Spirit in our prayer and let Him do His work in their heart.
While tracts and other gospel literature or witnessing programs might be rebuffed, an offer to pray is often accepted and will linger long in the heart and mind of the recipient. God’s loving, compassionate, caring nature is conveyed to a person through sincere prayer. Afterward, we should pray that God will send others to water and tend the seed that has been planted.