Step 1: Prayer

As much as I hate to admit it, many times my prayers closely resemble the Christmas lists I used to mail to Santa as a child—a list of very selfish wants and needs. While my requests to God have matured just as I have, they still very often revolve around me: “Lord, help me focus so I can ace this test,” or “give me the patience to deal with my co-workers.”

When I do extend my circle of prayer, it is usually to include my friends and family who I know have a relationship with Jesus Christ. But what about those who don’t? Why is it so important to pray for those who don’t yet know of God’s love, and how do we do it?

God is working in people’s lives long before they hear the gospel. That work continues with our prayers. It is the catalyst that ignites the desire to know God. When spreading the gospel, we are engaging in spiritual warfare. Prayer is one of the greatest weapons we have when fighting the enemy (Eph. 6:16–18).

One verse I try to live by, 1 Chronicles 16:24, tells us to “declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” What I so often forget is that before we do that, we must pray. We must pray for the people we wish to hear the good news, that their hearts would be softened and their ears would be open. God will listen (2 Kings 20:1–7). Pray for Satan and his strategies to be halted, even if it’s just long enough to get through to someone. Pray for more people to witness and more people to listen.

And lastly, (the part I am almost too good at) pray for yourself. Ask God to give you compassion for unbelievers, the desire to witness, and the courage to step out of your comfort zone and share His Word.

Molly Neill is a student at The University of Alabama whose love of travel has developed into a passion for missions.

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