INTRODUCING JESUS AT A PARTY
Sat on the bus. Waiting for the kettle to boil. On hold. Watching something really dull on iPlayer. Itchy fingers go for the phone to scroll through messages, emails, social media or the news.
Often, it’s a good distraction for a few minutes till the bus has arrived or the kettle’s boiled, but sometimes, there’s an unexpected message from a family member who is struggling, in fact still struggling… or a Facebook post from a pal crushed by grief… a WhatsApp from a lovely old friend remembering me on my birthday, but then I remember that disappointment and hurt has taken her far from God…
I have definitely got myself in a tizzy about how to get going in praying for friends and family, or actually, just not getting going at all because it all seems so overwhelming.
What I need is a specific focus. For me just now, my family desperately needs prayer. So, I have signed up to a 30-day Bible Study in Nehemiah and I am committing to pray daily for different chunks of our family for those 30 days. I will journal when I can or when something comes up. I am expectant and hopeful that God will step in and do something, though from the outside looking in it could feel pretty hopeless, especially as we have been praying about some of these things for years. I have seen some breakthroughs for which I am thankful, like my brother being back in touch after many years. God has been so faithful. But persevering in prayer is a tricky thing.
Speaking of tricky… Persevering in praying for folks to come to know Jesus, especially when you have been praying for years, can feel pretty hopeless. But we are not alone. Be assured there are many Christians out there struggling to keep praying! Thankfully, God has given us his Holy Spirit to help us keep going, teaching us to pray and whispering love, patience and forgiveness in our ears. Jesus is so gracious!
As time goes on I’m starting to realise that when I’m with my friends and family, Jesus is there with me. Have you ever gone to a party with a friend who seems to know everyone in the room and they forget that you have gone as their guest and you know hardly anyone? You stay silent, waiting to be introduced. After a while you might get the courage to say, “Hi, I don’t think we’ve been introduced…” it can all get a bit awkward; apologies and all that.
Jesus is that friend waiting in the wings with us, he’s the friend waiting for an introduction, he loves us and being with us, but he also loves everyone else and is desperate to get a word in to tell your pals they are loved too.
I can get in a tangle when making the introductions; a bit like when you forget names and it all gets a bit awkward. But it generally works out alright in the end; mates get chatting and find out what they have in common. I’ve got to say that it’s easier when I’ve have done a bit of prep beforehand, remembered who is at the party, who would get on with who, what’s going on in peoples lives in order to make connections. And if I’ve prayed beforehand I’ll be more in tune with what God’s saying to and about my pals.
Well, I’m going to the book of Nehemiah to pray for my family and I’m going to be going to the Thy Kingdom Come website to sign up to pledge for five pals to come to know Christ. To make sure that I pray for them I am going to use the Novena prayer booklet as a reminder. But there’s loads of other ways you could pray… post-it notes, reminders on your phone or just a piece of string with five knots in.
When I meet up with my friends and family, I’m going to try and prepare, have a think about connections, maybe share a bit of scripture or ask if they need prayer. I’m feeling a bit exposed putting all this out there as accountability on this is fairly high now with everyone on the Church Army blog reading this – it’s not just my close friends…!
I know that I’ll not get it right every time, chances are there’ll be days when I’ll forget, but by choosing to commit, having ways to remember and having pals know so that they can ask or remind me is a start.
Will you join me this Pentecost and pray for five of your pals to know Jesus? Write the names of the five people you’ll be praying for on a post-it note or on your phone notes.
How will you remember to pray for them? Thy Kingdom Come have some great ideas about how to remember to pray for your friends – decide on one of these ideas or something else that works for you.
Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. It started to 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown in to an international and ecumenical call to prayer. To find out more and to get resources for you as an individual or for your church, go to Thy Kingdom Come.
24 May 2019
Louise works with the Church Army Community Team. Louise loves living in Sheffield with her husband, Dave, and their son Josiah (but is a Lancashire lass at heart!).