The follower of Christ enjoys at least two motivating factors to share the good news of Christ to other people – our command to share the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20) and, more importantly, our love of others (Romans 9:1-5; 10:1-4). We enjoy a sweet relationship with God through Christ and desire for others to experience the joy of that same relationship. It’s with this passion that we seek to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with other people. Many of these individuals – loved ones, friends, coworkers, neighbors, often complete strangers – do not wish to hear about Christ. So we begin to consider these conversations with fear of rejection, concern for the other person’s eternal destiny, and awareness of our responsibility before Christ.
How do you begin to prepare for this conversation? The first step is prayer. The question today: How do I pray for these Gospel Conversations?
There are many ways to begin to pray for the other person and you as you consider the future discussion of the Gospel. Let me suggest seven prayer requests you can specifically make.
- Pray for dependence upon the Holy Spirit to change this person’s heart. It is easy to enter into a Gospel conversation believing inaccurately that the results of the conversation depend upon your eloquence of speech, your personality traits, your evidences for the truth of the Gospel message, among so many other possible areas of concern. Instead, with a desire for God to be honored and others helped by the grace of God, we share the wonderful news of the Gospel with our friends, coworkers, neighbors, family and even strangers depending upon the Holy Spirit’s power (John 16:8).
- Pray for humility to recognize that any discernment we have related to the wonderful truth of the Gospel is a work of grace. Yes, we did ask God to forgive us of our sin based upon the death of Jesus Christ as the wrath-bearing sacrifice on the cross; however, even our faith is part of the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Pray for the individual’s salvation by God’s grace. Ask God that they would be open to the Gospel, have a willingness to listen to you, and that through the conversations, they would sense the conviction of Spirit. Sometimes there are a variety of barriers that would hinder a person from receiving this message of good news: ignorance, idolatry, bias, pride. Thus, we want to pray that God would change another person’s circumstances to open them up for the Gospel, or in other words, to make them receptive to the Word of God (Acts 16:14).
- Pray for patience if or when or however they may reject your message. Possibly they are not ready yet to accept Jesus as Savior. We do not know how God is working in this person’s heart. We certainly understand there are those in the Scripture that heard the Gospel and then later followed Christ. Our goal is not to “win” or to “pressure” this individual to accept the greatness of forgiveness in Jesus’ death on the cross. Our goal is to share this message in confidence that God’s Word does a great work in the hearts of people. This person may, in fact, choose to walk away without desiring a relationship with Jesus. What that means for the one who is sharing is simply that today, right now, in this moment, this person is not ready. So, have the right attitude and leave the conversation in a spirit of grace. Be willing to walk away from this conversation with the door open for a future Gospel conversation. We rejoice that God is pleased with our faithfulness even in sharing the glorious news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
- Pray for awareness of our role as an ambassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). Paul describes us as ambassadors of Christ with a word of reconciliation and a ministry of reconciliation. We want to take a moment to mediate in prayer on the magnificence of the job God has given us. We want to pray that God would help us see the significance of representing Christ as His “boots on the ground.” Jesus in Heaven allows us to represent Him on Earth as an ambassador. Our agenda must match His agenda. Our actions must match His actions. Our attitudes must match His attitude. Our words must match His words. We are ambassadors! “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
- Pray for wisdom to speak God’s words in wise ways. We are the messengers of the good news of the Gospel. How exciting to think that God graciously chooses to use us as His voice! The trust. The privilege. The responsibility. The joy. God allows our words to be His words. Therefore, it is critical that we ask God to grant us wisdom to speak the truth lovingly as we seek to share the greatest news in the world with others.
- Pray for courage to actually speak the truth in love with boldness. It is an understatement to say that fear can keep any one of us from sharing with another person the Gospel message; but, it seems silly to allow fear to keep us quiet. If we had the cure for cancer or any number of a million other diseases or if we had a method to double our money every month or if we had a way to guarantee peace for the nations, we would tell everyone we know. Yet, the Gospel message of the love of Jesus Christ that motivated His death on the cross to provide the forgiveness of sins to anyone who will ask is far more valuable and beneficial than health, money or peace. The Gospel possesses eternal value! Therefore, we pray and ask God to grant us the courage and boldness to speak the truth in love.
Let’s pray that God would show us His grace as we seek His help in our Gospel conversations.
Your Turn: what would you add to list of prayer requests when you consider sharing the Gospel message with another person?