Ask God to speak as you interact with today's Scripture and devotional.
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.” — Luke 6:12-13
Jesus began every new ministry initiative with prayer. He never took a first step without first checking in with His Father. Just before designating His team of twelve, Jesus spent the night in prayer, knowing the critical importance of the decision before Him. Dave and Jon Ferguson note that many of us might have been tempted to “skip the prayer part and just pick the guys we liked the most or who seemed to be the most gifted.” But that was not the way of Jesus. He was always intentional to lean heavily on His Father for wisdom and direction.
Dave and Jon offer additional insights on the importance of beginning with prayer:
If you are not regularly praying for people by name, I doubt God will use you to help change them. I believe this for two reasons: First, God has chosen to work through us so that ‘they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:14-16). So prayer is connecting to the Source that will bring change in others. Second, prayer is connecting to the Source that will change you! When you begin with prayer, God begins to change your heart, and you begin to feel what God feels for other people. They are no longer projects. When God's Spirit allows you to feel what God feels, you get ideas that come from God, like “send a text to your neighbor to see how he's doing” or “ask your friend if she's got time for coffee this week.” When they ask you, “What's up?” you just say, “I was praying and just thought of you.” Often the timing of those promptings to reach out is remarkable. Many times, I've heard people tell me, “Wow your timing is crazy.” It's because God uses prayer to change others, but He also uses it to change you (Ferguson, p. 42).
In a recent survey by Lifeway Research, they discovered that the practice that most predicts higher spiritual maturity in someone is praying more often for opportunities to tell others about Jesus Christ. They go on to report that the second most predictive indicator of spiritual growth is how often we pray for the spiritual status of people we know who are not professing Christians.
This week we have the opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit to continue moving in the lives of neighbors we know who are still far from God. Here are two tools that can help you begin praying for them:
Click HERE to see the “Who Is My Neighbor?” Map
Before you go:
As you go:
After you finish:
Answer the questions below and write down any other thoughts and prayers to God in your Life in Rhythm journal.
Every day you'll have an opportunity to "go deeper" into God's Word by practicing the REAP study method. Read the following scripture and use your journal and the REAP method to unpack the following scripture and apply it to your life.