"I really want to people in my neighborhood to know Jesus, but I don't know where to start." This is a common feeling among most Christians. Solution? Prayer-walk your neighborhood. If you want people in your neighborhood to know Jesus, try prayer-walking your neighborhood at least once a week. WHAT IS PRAYER-WALKING?
It is really simple. Take a walk around your block and pray for the people around you. Pray that God would bless them, and reveal himself to them. Pray for their well being. Pray that they would hunger for God. Pray for opportunities for Christians to speak them. Pray for them everything that you would want someone to pray for you.
And when you pray, keep your eyes open. If you notice needs, ask God to help. Look for potential barriers and bridges to the gospel. What might be keeping these people from meeting Jesus? What could help them to know him? Notice the stage of life of your neighbors. Are there children running around? Are many people retired? Notice their interests. Do you see RVs, boats, or quads in the driveway? Do people have sports flags hanging from their home? Also, keep your ears open. Pay attention to things people are talking about. Notice the music they are listening to. Listen carefully to how people talk. Are they highly educated? Is their language sophisticated, or rough and earthy? Are they discussing sports, or cars, or philosophy? All these things will help you pray better for your neighbors.
Finally, pay attention to the promptings of your heart. When you are walking, does it seem that one house grabs your attention more than another? Do certain neighbors come to mind more than others? Do specific social needs come to mind like racism, divorce, illness, or depression? Maybe these promptings are God's way of guiding your prayers. So pay attention.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU PRAYER-WALK YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
- You will see God at work! God answers prayers. When he does, you will be reminded that he is at work. Unless he builds the house, those who build it labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).
- You will learn the needs of your neighborhood. This may give you and some fellow Christians an opportunity to serve people with the love of Jesus.
- You will meet people. Sometimes the biggest obstacle for sharing Jesus is that we don't know anyone around us. By being out and about, you will meet some of your neighbors.
- You will learn how to talk to your neighbors. By observing barriers and bridges to the gospel you will be able to speak more compassionately to your new friends who don't know him. This will prevent you from making assumptions and help you speak directly to their needs.
- You will be humbled. It is so easy to get wrapped up into our own lives that we forget their are 7 billion other people on this planet. By prayer-walking your neighborhood you will realize you aren't the center of the universe. There are many people right around you who are equally loved by God and are struggling through life just like you.
So, give it a shot and see what happens.