Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Praying for the Lost by Name - Part 2 of 2

Question: Is it more important for believers to pray to keep Christians out of heaven or lost persons out of hell?

I'm being a little sarcastic here to prove a point. So much of our praying in church today is focused on the physical and temporal needs of people. If people are healed, if they are provided for, if their temporal needs are met while their greatest need - salvation - is neglected, then what profit is our praying to them?

Paul said of Israel in Romans 10:1 ESV , "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved." He was so burdened for their salvation that he said, "...I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh." "Romans 9:3 ESV"

That is a heavy burden.

Would you be willing, if it were possible, to forsake your own salvation in order to see others saved? In case you were wondering, my answer to that question is: no comment.

We should be burdened for the salvation of people. This is especially true when you consider their spiritual condition apart from Christ. The bible says that people apart from Christ are...
  • Matthew 15:24 – LOST.
  • 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4 – BLIND.
  • 2nd Timothy 2:25-26 - BOUND.
  • John 3:18 - CONDEMNED.
  • John 3:36 - DESTINED FOR HELL.
  • John 6:44 - HELPLESS.
  • Ephesians 2:12 - WITHOUT HOPE.
I would encourage you to get your Bible read each of the passages from the list above and meditate on them.

Here are a few ways that you can start a ministry of praying for the lost in your church...

Begin an Operation Celebration ministry in your church. (This is also known as Operation Andrew.) This is a list praying method. You begin praying for lost people by name on a daily basis. Download the training manual and the Operation Celebration brochure from our website. It is free.

Fishbowl Fishing - During prayer meeting, have people write the names of their lost friends and relatives on slips of paper. Collect them in a fishbowl and place them on the altar. During each prayer meeting, have people take a slip from the fishbowl and pray for that person(s) by name. Return the names to the bowl and keep praying for them at every prayer meeting until the person comes to faith in Christ.

Prayer Triplets - This is a variation of the list praying method. Find three people to partner with. Each person identifies three people that need Christ and begin praying for them by name as a group. If possible, find a time to meet together each week for prayer.

Prayerwalking - Prayer walk your neighborhood specifically to pray for the salvation of lost neighbors. If you don't know your neighbors by name, collect their addresses and use a service like to do reverse address look ups. For the most part, it should give you the names of the people in your neighborhood. (For those living in the USA)

I would love to hear your suggestions on how to pray for the lost by name. You can list them in the comments section. Most importantly, pray for people who need Jesus as part of your daily walk with Christ. J. Sidlow Baxter said, " may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons - but they are helpless against our prayers."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Praying for Lost People by Name - Part 1 of 2

Someone once said that we need to talk to God about the lost before we talk to the lost about God. I think that is good advice.

One of the most powerful things you can do in evangelism is to pray for people - by name - who don't know Jesus Christ that they might come to faith in Him. If the heart of the king is in the Lord's hands to turn it which ever way He wishes, then how much more so is the heart of the lost person? (See Proverbs 21:1)

Often, we have difficulty in identifying those whom we need to pray for. It shouldn't be too difficult considering that the average person knows or comes into contact with about 30-35 lost people. If you are in business, that number jumps to 70-75. (Statistics taken from IECS training)

Below is a short video that I created to help jog your memory on who to pray for. It was primarily created for the Praying for the Lost by Name group on Facebook but also applies to this post. You will need to have a Facebook account to join the group.

Once you finished watching the video, grab a pencil and paper and list the names of people in your circle of influence who don't know Jesus. Then, commit to pray for them by name every day until they come to faith in Jesus Christ. Let me know how many names you come up with by posting the number in the comment section on the blog. Better yet, post their first name and initial of their last name in the comment section below so our readers can pray for them as well.

Link to the YouTube video - Click here

Embeded YouTube video below...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Encountering Other Religions - Part 2 of 2

Sorry that this post is a week late. I was in a training conference last week and some other things came up.

As God gives you opportunities to share the gospel with people of other religious backgrounds, there are some things that you should and should not do in order to give an effective witness.

  1. Show respect to the person to whom you are witnessing even though you do not agree with them. You do not want to insult their beliefs or any of the important historical figures of their religion. Focus on Jesus and his substitutionary atonement for sin.
  2. Rely on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and not just your well crafted argument when you witness.
  3. Present Christ as the exclusive way of salvation and back it up with scripture.
  4. Sow seeds of the gospel. It may take a considerable amount of witnessing before this person will understand who Jesus is and willingly turn to Him. Be patient.
  1. Argue with them.
  2. Assume that they are not interested in discussing their spiritual beliefs. Many people are interested if you approach them with the right attitude.
  3. Approach the encounter with a "I'm going to win the argument" attitude. That will get you no where.
  4. Leave leave a bad taste in their mouth. In other words, represent Christ and his kingdom.
If you have stories of witnessing encounters that you have had with people of other faiths, I would love to hear back from you. Please e-mail me at info at onlyfoundation dot org.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Encountering Other Religions - Part 1 of 2

Happy New Year! What a wonderful time to renew your commitment to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others. I hope you will make this Website a part of your equipping routine as you seek to hone your gospel sharing skills. I will do my best to share articles that help you do just that. As always, your feedback and comments are welcome here on

I just returned from the annual Rose Parade outreach in Pasadena California. We had a marvelous time of witnessing on the streets. California is such a fruitful environment for spiritual conversations.

Not everyone that we encountered on the streets was open to the gospel. But our main task in evangelism is to discern who is open and who is not. If a person is open, then you should seek to share the gospel in the power of the Spirit. If not, then move on to find someone who is open.

I encountered some interesting people on the streets of Pasadena. One man, who was enjoying the holiday "spirit," was from a Muslim and Baptist background. He understood that there would be a final judgment, but misunderstood that he would have a chance to ask for forgiveness at the moment that he was facing that judgment.

Another man, who was standing in front of the Scientology Center, was a Jewish Scientologist. He believed in self improvement and living a moral life. He still clung to some of his traditional Jewish beliefs, but for the most part believed that everyone had the right to their own religious beliefs.

Whenever you actively practice evangelism, you are bound to encounter other religions. How will you react when you come across someone who is from a different religious background that you may not be familiar with?

Here are some practical thoughts on witnessing to adherents of other religions:

1. Understand what you believe. When they train members of the secret service to identify counterfeit currency, they make them handle real money first. They become familiar with how real money feels and looks and therefore can spot the fake as soon as they see it. When it comes to faith, you need to be conversant in your own belief system. This is especially true of essential doctrines such as the inspiration and inerrancy of the scriptures, the virgin birth of Christ, deity of Christ, His atonement for sin, the bodily resurrection of Christ and His return. If you know what you believe, you will easily discern false beliefs when you hear them.

2. Understand how other religions view salvation. People have often asked, why are there so many religions in the world. Truthfully, you can categorize every religion in the world in to 1 of 2 categories: those with works based salvation and Christianity with grace based salvation. Practically every religion in the world except Christianity teaches that a person has to perform some type of ritual or work to gain acceptance to God. The Bible teaches that a person cannot earn salvation, it is by grace they are saved through faith.

3. Don't be afraid to ask. If you encounter a particular religious belief that you are not familiar with, don't be afraid to ask the person to tell you what they believe. Recently, I encountered a man who practiced Moorish Science. He did not come out and tell me what his religion was, but shared enough of his belief system that I was able to further research his beliefs and discover what he practiced. In case you are wondering, Moorish Science is a mixture of Islam and mysticism created by a man named Drew Ali. (Google it for more information.)

4. Study, study, study. First of all, make sure personal Bible study and scripture memorization is a part of your regular routine. Secondly, nothing replaces good hard work and research. A good place to start your research on other religions is which is maintained by the North American Mission Board. You can find a good article on Scientology on this website. There are many other Websites out there where you can learn about other religions.

Whatever you do, don't panic when you encounter someone of a different religion. If you know what you believe, you will do well as long as you depend upon the Holy Spirit. In the next article, I will share more about the dos and don't of witnessing to people of other faiths.