Personal Prayer Evangelism

who have not heard it yet.. /t that moment panic struck, and I found myself foolishly wishing that an earth(uake, a tornado, a flood, anything catastrophic, would hit our town so I would not have to go out to witness to strangers. 0hy such a negative reaction1 I wasn2t opposed to witnessing) I was 3ust scared of talking to strangers. Being the shy person that I was, even if I had mustered enough courage to try, fear of re3ection would probably have immobili-ed me anyway. /s it turned out, neither flood nor earth(uake hit town to alleviate my an4iety. So I began to fervently hope I would be paired with a vivacious, engaging, talkative individual5 someone to whom I could say, +6bviously, you have the gift and the anointing for door*to*door evangelism. 7ou take the point and talk to people, while I step into the background and silently pray for you.. But it was not to happen that way. /lthough I was painfully shy, I had always been perceived by my peers to be a leader5a shy leader but a leader nonetheless. /s far back as I can remember, I was e4pected to lead. So, under the watchful ga-e of the fiery evangelist, my pastor told me, +Ed, we are going to team you up with a younger 'hristian so you can show him how to do it.. 8e1 Show someone else how to do it1 I did not know how to witness myself, But soon I found myself and my young charge walking up to a door that, to me, resembled the entrance to a lion2s den.

How to change the spiritual climate by Ed Silvoso from Prayer Evangelism Before we can change the spiritual climate over our cities, we must have a working knowledge of one of our primary tools: prayer evangelism. I introduced the essence of the concept of prayer evangelism in hat !one Should Perish in "##$, but since then much has been learned from using this potent weapon on the front lines. Several years of working side by side with pastors and leaders in cities all over the world have enriched tremendously our initial understanding of this concept. Simply put, prayer evangelism is talking to %od about our neighbors before we talk to our neighbors about %od. his definition, coined by Beverly &aime," has helped us to put at ease thousands of 'hristians who have a genuine desire to witness to the lost but who feel inade(uate or scared to share the gospel with them. I know those feelings of inade(uacy very well) they used to torment me as a brand*new 'hristian. Shortly after my conversion, a visiting evangelist pounded on the pulpit at my church and declared, +!o one should hear the gospel twice until everybody has heard it once, herefore, since all of you have heard it more than once, I will not preach to you. Instead, I will organi-e you into pairs to witness door*to*door to those

we reverse the order and begin with the last step. . and say to them. witnessing.9nder the admiring ga-e of my pupil. I was threatened by the prospect of having to share the gospel with total strangers. I knocked on the door as softly as I could. ake care of their needs. but the most complete model is found in od has following &esus2 four*step approach. and I dearly wished it would be a child. first say. . C. his four*step method proved so successful that soon after &esus taught it to <is disciples. all that changed the day I discovered the dynamic.ear and shame are a lethal combination for an aspiring evangelist.” And whatever city you enter. <ere <e calls for us to do four things for the lost: ".A. he first of these four steps will open the door to the second step and so forth. biblical principle of prayer evangelism. Even though I wanted to do great things for %od. multitudes came to believe in &esus and demons surrendered en masse to a bunch of rookie evangelists. 9nfortunately. his is the only occasion in the %ospels where &esus spells out an evangelistic method. must be implemented in the order given. I was so ashamed of my cowardliness. and they receive you. fervently hoping that no one would be home. :.#B. $. “Peace be to this house. “The kingdom of come near to you” =>uke "?:@. 0e knock on a door5many times out of guilt or. 0e will soon see why this is so. the fellowship and the caring that are to precede the good news. these are not the results we see today when we evangeli-e. Proclaim the good news. he principles of prayer evangelism are taught in several places in the Bible. this passage. to be effective. . and heal those in it who are sick. so I could sit down with him and 3ust talk for the ne4t hour while others from my church visited the rest of the block.ellowship with them. no more than : or $ years old. Speak peace to them. we get three minutes of reluctant attention. In most cases. <owever. eat what is set before you. /nd two and a half of those minutes are wasted e4plaining the difference between us and the &ehovah2s 0itnesses. 0hat is the problem1 Dather than Prayer Evangelism in Four Easy Steps Whatever house you enter. as in my case. pressure5and if that door opens a crack. I heard steps approaching. this approach to witnessing does not work. It is very important for us to understand that the steps are interconnected and. and skip the blessing.

who in <is earthly days was glad to be known as a friend of sinners. prayer evangelism comes in. We Must Make Peace with the Lost &esus2 method of evangelism calls for us to first speak peace over the lost. a process is necessary. 0e must begin by caring for them. he beginning of &esus2 prescribed process calls for us to become shepherds to the people in our circle of influence.or credibility to develop. hey may not yet know that we are their pastors) but we should know they are our sheep. have been at war with the lost. have been at war with the lost. a process is necessary. oo often. 6ur bellicose attitudes do tremendous disservice to &esus. we have a tendency to strongly dislike sinners. prayer evangelism comes in. I became aware of my own belligerence toward the lost the first his is where . and this soon becomes obvious to them. Reason #1: 0e need to declare peace because we. is the banner under which we approach the unsaved of this world. oo often. as 'hristians. 0hat credibility do we have to cause them to believe anything we say1 . 0hat credibility do we have to cause them to believe anything we say1 . I became aware of my own belligerence toward the lost the first his is where 0hy should the people in that house believe that we5 complete strangers5are going to heaven and that they are going to hell1 0hy should they believe that the Bible is the 0ord of %od1 o them. who in <is earthly days was glad to be known as a friend of sinners. we have a tendency to strongly dislike sinners. If &esus is their friend. hey may not yet know that we are their pastors) but we should know they are our sheep. his attitude is at the heart of &esus2 strategy. the Bible is no different than the book of 8ormon or the sayings of Buddha or 8ao. he beginning of &esus2 prescribed process calls for us to become shepherds to the people in our circle of influence. Reason #1: 0e need to declare peace because we. and this soon becomes obvious to them. we cannot be their enemies. his attitude is at the heart of &esus2 strategy. If &esus is their friend. +Depent or burn. 9nfortunately. 0e must begin by caring for them.or credibility to develop. 9nfortunately. his is important for at least three reasons.0hy should the people in that house believe that we5 complete strangers5are going to heaven and that they are going to hell1 0hy should they believe that the Bible is the 0ord of %od1 o them. the Bible is no different than the book of 8ormon or the sayings of Buddha or 8ao. as 'hristians. 6ur bellicose attitudes do tremendous disservice to &esus. +Depent or burn. We Must Make Peace with the Lost &esus2 method of evangelism calls for us to first speak peace over the lost. we cannot be their enemies. is the banner under which we approach the unsaved of this world. his is important for at least three reasons.

-. 0hen we say. and from the "ower of od $Acts %&'(). we cannot empower them by approaching the lost in anger.(*. on a sidewalk in my own neighborhood. Preaching the truth without love is like giving someone a good kiss when you have bad breath. we tear down the city. 0hen we point to rowdy teenagers and complain. Even though this may be true. Reason #3: 0e speak peace in order to neutrali-e the demons that have been assigned to blind our neighbors to the light of the gospel. he Bible clearly . +!. we are cursing them. not to condemn the world. we will stop cursing them. But when we curse our neighbors. <ence. we tell the lost how terrible and depraved their lives are and how they are surely going to hell. "":""B. + hey are nuisances and morons who drink and drive and e4periment with drugs. our negative approach blocks and distorts the central message of the Bible: that %od sent <is Son. o deal effectively with our spiritual foes. or else we would not do it. %iven the fact that Satan is not omnipresent5he cannot be in more than one place at a time5 how then can he blind the minds of billions of people simultaneously1 <e uses demons as implied in the parable of the sower. our city is edified =see Prov. he Bible e4plains clearly why all the people in our circle of influence have not yet come to the >ord: + he god of this world Fthe devilG has blinded the minds of the unbelieving. in anger or disgust. 0e do not reali-e how often we curse others. because light cannot be blocked passively. beginning with the block we live on. the birds of the sky =representing the devil and his forcesB come and steal it =see >uke A:@. I cried out to <im to make my heart more like <is. =C 'or. 0hen we pronounce blessings on our neighbors. Reason #2: If we bless the lost. we need to factor in how to disable the demonic grip on those we are trying to reach. Paul leaves no doubt as to the active role Satan and his demons play in blinding the lost to the gospel. we are cursing her. that they might not see the light of the gospel. under tremendous conviction of the <oly Spirit. !o matter how good your kiss is. $:$B. + he lady across the street is a drunkard) she is going to die of cirrhosis of the liver. all the recipient will remember is your bad breath.. his means that the devil is actively blinding them. he apostle Paul places the task of opening the eyes of the lost s(uarely on our shoulders and within a conte4t of evangelism and spiritual warfare: ! am sending you to them to o"en their eyes and turn them from #atan to darkness to light. where we are told that after the seed is planted..Dight there. and soon they are going to kill themselves. his is what happens when. but to save it =see &ohn ::"EB."CB.

6ur neighbors should feel the same way about us.irst say.CEB. &esus described this kind of peace as something almost tangible: .. opening the door to fellowship =step C in the processB. o reverse this situation. sooner or later people who used to avoid us will begin to seek us out. his is because they can actually feel the blessings we have spoken over them..teaches that our unresolved anger gives room to the devil inside our circle of influence =see Eph. +0hen I see you walking by. I can often feel the other driver2s silent curses. I get a positive vibration.. we must renounce our anger and begin to speak peace to the lost. $:CH. because there was 3ust something about <im that drew others to <im. +Peace be to this house. a hand of blessings always beats a hand of curses. /n atmosphere of blessings weakens the grip of demons. hat2s !ew /ge lingo for peace.. Please. 0hat they mean is that in your presence they feel something tangible5and they like it. +6h. . it will return to you =>uke "?:@. as we are <is representatives on earth =see >uke "?:"HB. / 'hristian lady in England had not been able to meet her neighbor. If I accidentally cut somebody off on the freeway. !evertheless. your peace will rest upon him) but if not. Blessings are more powerful than curses because curses can be broken.HB. /nd if a man of peace is there. I feel it first on the back of my neck and then inside as my +soul climate. In the celestial poker game. takes a turn for the worse. and they soon fold and leave the table. he neighbor said. If a child of %od can feel a curse that is energi-ed by the powers of darkness. the unbelieving neighbor and her une4pectedly. because thanks to those blessings. who was bedridden due to a serious condition. It took no effort at all to lead that lady and her children to 'hrist. A angi!le Peace 0hen we speak blessings over those in our circle of influence. how much more will the lost feel a blessing that is empowered by the blood that &esus shed at 'alvary1 his is why when we bless our neighbors. 7our neighbors may come to you and say something like. 6ur curses will only strengthen the demonic grip on the ones we are trying to save. they will begin to come around5because they feel blessed. every hursday she and other believing women spoke peace to her from across the street. children showed up at the 'hristian his went on for woman2s door several months until one day. Sinners loved to hang around &esus. he surprised 'hristian asked how she knew about the blessings. even if he or she does not make any obscene gestures or give me an angry blast from the car horn. +I came to thank you for the blessings you sent my way. I felt them coming every week. tell me more about it. I am healed.

7ou may wonder. the lost always have value as human beings because they too were made in the image of %od. Besides being wrong. even to strangers. 0e barely put up with them. o change this. wo*way fellowship points us in the right direction. this attitude is also very demeaning and only widens the gap between them and us. Iaccheus or the adulterous woman5often the greater the respect with which <e treated them. herefore. working in the yard together or organi-ing a multifamily garage sale together allows us to speak blessings upon our neighbors at close range. . not proclamation. <is evangelism model calls for two*way fellowship. Be patient. oday playing football. =>uke "?:EB.wo"Way #ellowshi$ 6nce you have broken the ice with your neighbors. his is a destructive attitude unworthy of 'hrist and <is kingdom. with an emphasis on receiving rather than unilaterally giving. his will only happen after they trust us enough to disclose those needs. Proclamation is the last step. they may share that their marriage looks good on the surface but is rotting . eating and drinking what they give you. do not ambush them with the .. 6nce such trust e4ists. 6ne of the worst mistakes we make when evangeli-ing is to treat the unsaved like dirt. 0orse yet.ellowship provides an opportunity to show unconditional acceptance by welcoming our neighbors 3ust the way they are instead of the way we want them to be. and fellowship eventually leads to the third step: an opportunity to meet their felt needs. industrial* strength sinners. 0hen we allow unbelievers to do something for us. not to patroni-e or proselyti-e them but to receive from them: +Stay in that house.g. So often. we come off decidedly un*'hristlike in our interaction with the lost. &esus instructs us to eat and drink everything our neighbors set before us. the custom was to offer food and lodging to visitors. &esus always treated sinners with respect. If you2ve invited these formerly neglected sinners over for dinner. Degardless of how they rate as sinners. and we make it painfully clear that we can2t wait for them to change and become more like us. do not rush to share the gospel with them. #ishing Re%uires Patience Blessing sinners opens the door to fellowship. sharing a meal. In &esus2 day.ellowship is the ne4t step. it widens the chasm between them and &esus. we must spend time with our neighbors. we affirm their value and dignity as %od2s design and creation.our Spiritual >aws between the hamburgers and the apple pie. 0hat value is there in fellowship with the lost unless I share the gospel with them1 . we should never treat the lost as people without value. as if they have no value whatsoever unless they become 'hristians. he worse the sinners5e. especially with those who are certified. whom we represent.

!ow you may be thinking. 9nless you promise me that he will. Suppose you have a problem that only the president of the 9nited States can fi4. %od creates an avenue to show them that &esus is indeed a friend of sinners and <e came to save them and not to condemn them. you touch your neighbors at the deepest level. hen. or they may seek our help with an addiction they cannot overcome. hat is why an offer of prayer in a moment of crisis is always welcome. understand prayer better than we do..1 7ou would never respond this way simply because you would be appreciative that I had reached out to you with a potential solution when you had none. +0ell. !evertheless. their felt needs. he once*distant neighbors will begin to share heart*to*heart with us because they sense that we have an answer. 6ur fear that %od will get a bad name because of unanswered prayers is unwarranted since unbelievers. +I have been praying for you. but they don2t know that yet. 7ou are only promising prayer. Shouldn2t we lead them to the >ord first1 9nderstand. If you insist on knowing for sure that %od will answer before you decide to pray. too. <e is the person with the power and the resources to solve your dilemma. you must assure me that the president will read the letter and grant my re(uest. the heart level. I will not write it. and I would be delighted to pray about this. I tell you I have a very good friend who happens to be the head 3anitor at the 0hite <ouse and he cleans the 6val 6ffice every day. hey may tell us about their fear of losing their 3ob. I then propose that if you write a letter to the president about your need. but they do not know how to reach such a person. not an answer to prayer. 0hat if I pray and nothing happens1 you may wonder. what our neighbors are sharing at this point in time is the need they feel is most important5in other words. If I were to do that. through their felt needs. I don2t want %od2s reputation to be damaged. Prayer is the most tangible trace of eternity in the human heart.ishing re(uires patience. I will give it to my friend to put on the president2s desk. in your most desperate hour. /nd they will ask for our help because they now have tangible proof that we truly care for them. Even a master fisherman cannot force the fish to bite. because it makes the connection between those two points in their thinking. at the most rudimentary level. 7ou can think of no way to make your need known to him. . and he does not know you. It is at that precise moment when we can say to them. 0hen you pray for their felt needs. but you do not know the man. Sooner or later that touch will register with them. hey know they have a problem for which they have no solution. the most important need they have is salvation. 6bviously. Ed. Be patient.inside. his is the closest you can get to them. . you are missing the point. hey suspect that someone greater and more powerful has the answer. would you say. before I sit down to write that letter.

6bviously.ellowship establishes a level of trust. he >ord responded. + ell me. )a*e to A$$roach 6nce we have completed the first three steps5blessing. the kingdom of %od comes near them in a tangible way: “#ay to them. /rgentina. >et us emulate <im.. healing fellowship they have ever en3oyed) and you have offered prayers for needs they feel very deeply and have not been able to meet on their own. aking the Jingdom to the lost is like driving through the desert in an air*conditioned truck stocked with cold drinks. Please notice that we are not to bring them into the Jingdom) we are to take the Jingdom to them. the church was praying for an unbeliever who was also dying of cancer. &o'(s Priorities . he 'hristian died and the unbeliever was healed. allowing our neighbors :B share Prayer addresses their $B 0hen we intercede for our neighbors. CB .The kingdom of od has come near to you/” =>uke "?:#B. 0hen you spot a weary pedestrian lost on a lonely road on a hot summer day. they will be most grateful for it. needs. If you are willing to make the phone call on their behalf. he would be in hell now. +>et me e4plain it to you. but they do not have <is phone number. was how (uickly and often une4pectedly %od answered prayers on behalf of the lost. / local congregation was praying for one of its members who had terminal cancer.urthermore. 7ou cannot miss because you have given them peace. %od has his priorities straight. regardless of the outcome5especially if it is on your dime. fellowship and taking care of their needs5leading our neighbors to the >ord becomes as easy as angling a whale in a because there has been a gradual improvement in the spiritual climate of your relationship as it moved from step one to step four. . Sometimes <is responses baffled us. our greatest surprise in Desistencia.9nbelievers have the same attitude about prayer. if you pull up ne4t to him. !ow it is very natural for them to ask. %od seems to be partial to the needs of unbelievers. who is this %od who loves me1. he believer who died is here with 8e in heaven) but if the unbeliever had died. you don2t need to beg him to . hey know swimming pool. needs. hey feel safe in approaching you that %od has a solution. claiming it was not fair and asking %od for an e4planation. /t the same time. Someone in the congregation became very upset. which is what unbelievers lack the most) you have provided them with the most protective. /s I shared in my previous book. >et us review the four steps &esus laid out for us in >uke "? and how these steps lead from one to the ne4t: "B Blessing to opens the door with to us unbiased their felt felt fellowship.

thus having done something greater than &esus. this e4traordinary e4pansion of the faith happened in a relatively short time in the face of fierce and brutal persecution and without the abundance of resources available to us today. we can certainly e4ceed them in (uantity. <ow did this come about1 did. "@:"#*C:B. 'hristians had +con(uered. 0hat2s more. his is a key passage. sometimes preaching to hundreds of thousands in a single gathering. we will do greater works than <e did while on the earth.come on board. whereas many believers have since carried the gospel to the nations of the world. he . history tells us that by the beginning of the fourth century.omman' to +o &reater hings <ow can we possibly do something greater than the Son of %od has done1 8any Bible commentaries are silent or evasive on this topic.o! o* Reaching the LostIn &ohn "$:"C. &esus never traveled far from %alilee during <is ministry. across the /driatic Sea from modern*day Italy5so much so that he had to move on to newer and distant regions. because he was determined not to evangeli-e where 'hrist had already been proclaimed =see Dom.urthermore. hese are nice suggestions. the mighty empire that had taken pleasure in persecuting them. and soon the gospel spread to all &udea and Samaria and beyond until “all who lived in Asia heard the word of the 0ord” =/cts "#:"?B. Why Are We +oing )uch a Poor . there was not a single place where 'hrist had not been proclaimed. 6thers attempt to sidestep the issue by saying that although we can never surpass the (uality of &esus2 works. &esus preached publicly for only three years. 8oreover. his could not have been an easy task in the city where &esus was publicly hung as a criminal and <is resurrection discredited by rumors cleverly orchestrated and sustained by the religious power brokers. /fter all. and <e never preached to more than a few thousand people at a time. Billy %raham and others have led international ministries that spanned decades. !evertheless. . his means that from &erusalem in the 8iddle East all the way to Southern Europe. &ust consider for a moment the implication of this statement. /ll you need to do is pull over near to him and open the door. such as Spain. Paul saturated with the gospel an even greater area5from &erusalem to Illyricum. but they he Early 'hurch knew something that we have not yet learned: hey could do greater works than &esus . &esus tells us that if we believe in <im. &erusalem was reached. since it provides the answer to a most difficult (uestion: 0hy is the 'hurch today doing such a poor 3ob of fulfilling the %reat 'ommission compared to the Early 'hurch1 he Early 'hurch was able to fill the entire city of &erusalem with the teachings of &esus in 3ust a few weeks =see /cts @:CAB.

and it is enough for us” =v. Philip says . the works that ! do shall he do also. and greater works than these shall he do. I say this because shy people make good diplomats) they are able to say something negative in such a way that it sounds positive. When those dwellings are ready. If we believe in &esus.:B. never have mortal. when &esus says to <is disciples.” he disciples are other words. but &esus goes on. that I will do. but rather about a specific kind of prayer: prayer that addresses the felt needs of the lost. that the .. they have known %od and have seen <im. In od. his is an e4traordinary promise because up to this moment =as recorded in the BibleB. ! say to you. &esus declares.represent awful hermeneutics because they have nothing to do with what the te4t actually says: Truly. 0hat are the greater works &esus commands us to do1 <is own words suggest that they have to do with prayer: +/nd whatever you ask in 8y name. “7elieve in od. ! am going ahead to "re"are a "lace for you. &esus states that everyone who believes in <im should do the same works that <e did. that the 2ather may be glorified in the #on. we need to go back to a few moments earlier in this same conversation. Phili$: A Prototy$e o* Mo'ern Man o see this more clearly. however. !f you love 1e. and the truth. and the life. but through 1e” =v. AB. he who believes in 1e. “7elieve also that ! am probably stunned at this point. absolutely unprecedented statement: “!n 1y 2ather/s house are many dwelling "laces. =v. em"hasis added-. show us the 2ather. <ow do I arrive at this conclusion1 he key is the word +glorified. “! am the way. 0hen homas asks how to get to this wonderful place. hat is. no one comes to the 2ather. ":B. Philip now chimes in. !f you ask 1e anything in 1y name. saying. so that the . truly. believe also in 1e” =&ohn "$:"B.ather will be glorified in the Son. sinful men been so openly and clearly assured of going to heaven. <e is not speaking about prayer in general. you will kee" 1y commandments $3ohn (4'(%5(6. that ! will do.ather through &esus when they have been convinced of <is divinity by a miracle. &esus says that <e will do anything we ask in <is name. because ! go to the 2ather. &esus then comforts <is disciples. making yet another ama-ing.ather may be glorified in the Son. It is a promise dependent on one condition: belief in &esus. HB. ! will do it. C. Philip was probably a shy person. his point cannot be argued at all. /nd now that <e has been glorified. ! will come and take you there myself” =see vv. And whatever you ask in 1y name. unbelievers will come to the . these works have been upgraded to greater works. we are not only entitled to do greater works than <e did) we are commanded to do so. “0ord. assuring them that because they have known <im.

are associate pastors at 'athedral of . raditionally. if you show me the 2ather. hat is why this passage merits attention and serious study. and they would love to go to a better place when they die) but like Philip. and he wanted to go to a better place5 the . 'alifornia. 0hat &esus is teaching Philip is that it is all right to see in order to believe. &esus presents prayer as evangelism.orgLenLblogsL:HC*personal* prayer*evangelism . when evangeli-ed. 0et 1y miracles "rove to you that ! am who ! say” =see v.ather2s house5when he died. <e used someone like Philip. demanding. &esus says. we will have the key to reaching our cities for 'hrist. ""B. if you do not believe in 1e by 1y words. “Phili". 0e have prayed for the lost so that. &esus knows that Philip.something here that on the surface sounds polite and humble but in reality is rude and negative: “0ord. believe in 1e by 1y works. once convinced. Philip believed in %od. most of them do not believe that &esus is the only way to the .5miracles worked through prayer5to convince others who likewise do not believe that &esus is %od or the way to %od =v. the vast ma3ority of the population claims to believe in %od. oday. Kavid."?B. his passage is e4traordinary in that it presents prayer and evangelism as fully integrated components of the same e(uation. and +greater works than these. that is enough for me.transformourworld. If we understand how &esus dealt with this issue that affects so many people in this day and age. In this passage.aith in San &ose.” But &esus is able to see through his veneer to the core of unbelief behind Philip2s comment. o that effect. his is why <e confronts Philip. to show us how to break through this widespread barrier of unbelief. will do +the works that I do. he key is prayer for miracles that meet the felt needs of unbelieving people! !ote ". who did not believe that &esus is %od.ather. #. Jnowing that Philip does not believe in <is divinity. “Why don/t you believe 1e when ! say that he who has seen 1e has seen the 2ather8” =see vv. http:LLwww. "CB. however. Prayer becomes evangelism when used to open the eyes of unbelievers to the divinity of &esus. Beverly &aime and her husband. they will listen and hopefully receive &esus. the 'hurch has used prayer as a primer for evangelism.

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