If you’re trying to lead another person to Christ, one of the most important things you can do is pray for them. We all know prayer is a good thing and that the Bible encourages it, but what are specific ways that you can pray for someone you want to reach? Indigitous asked attorney and author Anna Rapa to share about her experience.
Who to pray for
Before praying, you have to decide for whom you want to pray. You can start by making a list of all of the people you regularly see and interact with. You can load them in MissionHub and indicate the spiritual stage of each person. But what if all of them are already Christians? If you’re not regularly interacting with people who don’t know Jesus, how can you change that?
You might need to make space in your life for those relationships. Or you might just need to come up with a more accurate picture of the opportunities you have. Anna suggests asking yourself these questions:
- How much down time or margin do you have in your life?
- What percentage of your time do you spend with people outside your church?
- What percentage of your time do you spend with people who do not have the same values you do?
- What places do you visit daily, weekly, or monthly?
- Who are your acquaintances (the people you say hi to)?
- What activities do you participate in? Who is there?
- What are your hobbies? Is there anyone who does these things with you?
“Where I live we have an arts center where I can do pottery or painting and I might see a lot of different people,” Anna says. Each person she sees at the arts center is someone with whom she could build a relationship. The same is true of the places you visit the most.
Be willing to be uncomfortable
People tend to hang out with people like them. That’s why Christians tend to hang out with other Christians, particularly those in their church or small group. Even if you know people who doesn’t know Jesus, maybe you’ve never thought about building a relationship with them. After all, if they have different beliefs and values, they may do and say things that offend you or make you uncomfortable. But God hasn’t called you to a life of comfort. “Is it time for you to create space for some relationships that might make you a little uncomfortable?” Anna asks.
Praying for them
Once you’ve decided who to pray for, you need to decide how to pray. There are a lot of ways to pray for someone. One great way to start is to pray for God’s blessing on a person. There are several ways that God can bless someone; Anna breaks it down as:
- Physical needs
- Emotional needs
- Relational needs
- Financial/vocational needs
- Spiritual needs
When praying for someone, pray for one or more of those needs. “I’m praying for God’s blessing in these specific areas of their life,” Anna says.
“I really believe that’s why we’re here in the world,” Anna says. Just as God made a covenant with Abraham to bless all of his descendants through him, we are also called to bless those in our lives. “When we are looking around our lives for ways that God can bless the people around us, I think we’re doing exactly what He’s invited His followers to do all throughout history.”
Anna recommends praying for God’s blessings on a person before you pray for their salvation or have a spiritual conversation with them. The most obvious result is that God could answer your prayer and bless them. But it can also have an impact on you and on your relationship with them. “I have seen my spirit toward these people change because I am showing care and concern in my prayer life for them,” Anna says. “If I commit to praying for a certain person for a month or something, over that month I see how much I change toward them and how much it changes our relationship in a positive way.”
Editor’s note: This is the second in a four-part series on personal evangelism with Anna Rapa. The first part is found here.