Pray – Active In Sharing Your Faith
As believers, we know where true hope is found. We’re grateful for the love and forgiveness of Christ. We’ve been set free. Redeemed for His purposes. But what about the people who are far from the heart of God? The Bible tells us we are to pray for and serve those who are far from God. Loving someone through thoughtful service is a huge foot in the door to forming relationships with people, and the back door is prayer. We have no idea what is going on at the heart level of another person. But God does; He created them to walk with Him and is actively at work in their lives. Sometimes, when the front door is closed, God gives us access through the back door. Before we talk to any person about God, first talk to God about that individual. Prayer can not only lead to a work in the heart of those we pray for, but in our heart as well.” – Philemon 1:4-6 NIV
Something To Talk About:
Roman 10:1 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.” We can share our faith by praying for those far from the heart of God. That’s what we find modeled for us in Romans 10:1; Paul actually spent time praying for his countrymen who didn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He wasn’t just praying for them as a faceless, nameless mass, but he prayed for actual people, family members and friends, former colleagues and friends who didn’t know Jesus. We can do that by doing the following:
- You can be loving but direct: Having an answer at the ready is wise (1 Peter 3:15), but knowing when to share is just as important. There are good times and bad times to share your faith. And there are times to be patient but there will be a time to be direct. Either way should be done in love. In fact, in Acts 2, this is what Peter did when he preached to thousands of people. He was loving, but he was direct. Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) That is pretty direct. But direct does not mean obnoxious. Sometimes in our enthusiasm to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others we can tend to come across like outreach commandos. We can come off like pushy salespeople, eager to sign people up for our agenda, never really taking the time to listen, to care, to try to understand people in love. That is not being direct, that is being jerks.
- You can share your story: No matter how “ordinary” yours may seem, we’ve all got a story to tell and you never know what it can mean to someone until you share it. Jesus often talked in parables so people could better grasp God’s plans, instructions and power. In the same way, you can use personal experiences, anecdotes, and stories to relate to others and tell them about Christ. But how do you distill a lifetime of experiences into a few minutes, and communicate the significance of your faith in a way others can understand? This is the challenge. When framing your story include what life like was like before you accepted Christ. Why did you choose to put your trust in Christ? How has your life changed as a result of accepting Jesus as your Savior. When you share how God has changed your life, it lets people see that you were once in their shoes, but have now been changed by the power of Christ. A changed life is the best evidence of what Jesus can do.
- You can invite people to church: The world is far more ready for an invitation than we are ready to invite. Inviting someone to church is strategic evangelism which is why we put “inviting people to church” so high on our evangelism priorities list. Inviting someone to a church event is easier than inviting them to see Christ in us. So go ahead and invite people to church. But make it one step in a journey of drawing them to Jesus. A journey that usually begins by getting to know them – and inviting them to see a genuine expression of Jesus in us. Still think it may be awkward; consider some facts from LifeWay Research: 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
- You can live a life others will want: When you love God and love others, people tend to notice. There won’t always be times to share your faith in direct conversation, which is exactly why your actions matter. People can spot a phony from a mile away. The absolute worst thing you can do is say one thing and do another. People aren’t as interested in what you say, as they are in seeing how it’s working in your life. When people around you see the peace in your life, especially when it seems like you’re surrounded by storms, you can bet they’ll want to know how to get what you got. They want to see believers treat people with respect and dignity, no matter the circumstances and find ways to be a blessing to others. Saying you’re a Christian is one thing, but living it in tangible ways every day is something else. The Apostle Peter commanded us to, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12,)
- What stood out to you most about the message?
- What keeps you from sharing your faith more boldly than you already do?
- Have you ever shared your faith with others and been too direct? What happened?
- If you were more active in sharing your faith, do you think your circle of friends would be different? Why or why not?
- Do you believe people would be ready to sign up for your life? What could you change about your lifestyle to better display your life in Christ?
- Think of a time when your faith felt huge and real. Were you actively sharing it?
- What are you going to change about your prayer life this week? How might that change how you share your faith?
Take One Thing Home with You:
It was Timothy Keller who said, “all Christians have opportunities to serve those who might never come to church or listen to a sermon.” We may see the opportunities but are waiting for the “right time” to share our faith with a relative or friend. Don’t delay, because we never know if we will get another opportunity. The Bible says, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5: 15-16) That’s why we must look for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ with people that we know. Our efforts to reach out may prompt any number of responses. Some neutral, some favorable, and others less than desirable. A person’s response is not only up to you. Remember that. The ultimate results are in the Lord’s hands.