I like being comfortable. With winter weather starting to slowly creep in, I love nothing more than to curl up on my couch with my favorite quilt, homemade apple cider, and an enthralling book. I am safe from Jack Frost nipping outside at my window. I am safe from the icy winds knocking the breath out of me. I am safe from the unbearable cold seeping through my coat. I like being comfortable.
Although there is nothing wrong with my desire to stay indoors during the frigid winter months, sometimes my yearning for comfort causes me to miss God-glorifying and Gospel-proclaiming opportunities. It keeps me from having those often-awkward initial Gospel presentations. It keeps me from ministering to people outside of my culture. It keeps me from selflessly sacrificing my time, money, and energy.
But Christ did not call His disciples to be comfortable. In fact, he promised them that they wouldn’t be.
“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33).
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’” (Luke 9:57-58)
Christ told His disciples that they must give up all their comforts—everything they cared about, needed, wanted—if they were to truly follow Him. This pronouncement wasn’t only for the twelve disciples; each of us has been called to the same uncomfortable, self-sacrificing life when we decide to follow Christ. Paul says in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.”
But we live in the comforts of 21st century America—on-demand television, cheap food delivery, the entire world in an aluminum box—what do we know of suffering?
Preaching the Gospel always requires suffering—it requires self-sacrifice. Sometimes it costs our lives, such as the faithful Christians in the Middle East who are being killed by ISIS. Sometimes it takes away our rights, such as the pastors in Houston who the city government is attempted to censor. Other times, it causes us to be placed in socially uncomfortable situations. Just because we are not in danger of being beheaded does not mean Christ requires any less sacrifice.
Recently, God has been calling me to step out of my comfort zone for the sake of Gospel proclamation. Even this blog post is out of my comfort zone—my lost friends and family may read it and realize that the prayers below are prayers I pray for each of them. This may creep them out, make them angry, or want to stay away from me. That’s okay. Christ suffered much greater loss. It’s the least I can do for my Savior.
I have found one of the greatest sacrifices I can make is the sacrifice of time in prayer for the lost. Christ sacrificed everything for my salvation; I am more than glad to give up my time for the sake of others’ salvation. So this week I am focusing specifically on how we sacrificially pray for the lost. Come back next week as I pray for our own Gospel witness.
The prayers below were taken from Dick Eastman’s book Love on It’s Knees. I have found it to be a tremendous help in praying for the lost around me.
Father, in the name of Jesus, I plead that You will draw ______________, to Jesus Christ in true faith and repentance.
John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
In the name of Jesus, I ask You, Father, to quicken ______________ who is dead in sins and trespasses.
Ephesians 2:1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins”
Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, I pray that You would destroy any false ideas that ______________ has about Jesus Christ and salvation through Him.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
Father, I pray that You will open ______________’s heart so that they will receive and believe the Gospel.
Acts 16:14, “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”
Holy Spirit, I ask You through Your power and ______________’s circumstances to prepare them to hear and receive the Word of God.
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Lord Jesus, I ask that ______________ will not trust in themself, but that ______________ will completely trust in You as their Savior and Lord.
Galatians 2:16 “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
Holy Spirit, I pray that You would stir ______________ out of their indifference and complacency concerning their condition and their need of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:2 “For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Father, I pray that You will send people continually into ______________’s life who will share the Gospel with them.
Romans 10:14 “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
Father, I plead that ______________ will understand that their only hope for forgiveness and acceptance with You is through Jesus’ work on the Cross.
1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Lord Jesus, I pray that ______________ will feel and know the burden of their sin and will come to You for forgiveness and salvation.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Father, I pray that ______________ will see that their good works are as filthy rags in Your sight and cannot save them.
Isaiah 64:6 “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
Holy Spirit, I pray that You would humble ______________ so that they see their need of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 18:27 “For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.”