King Jesus has called all of us to be witnesses for Him. He told His first disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). The word translated “preach” simply means “to proclaim.” Unfortunately, many of us struggle to witness. I personally believe that our breakdown is primarily a breakdown in prayer. Consider four prayers we can pray to become more faithful and effective in this area.
Pray for open doors.
When Paul ministered, his ministry was characterized by a search for what the Bible calls “open doors” (1 Corinthians 16:9 and Acts 16:6-10). In the realm of personal witnessing, an “open door” is simply an opportunity to share the gospel. On one occasion, Paul’s pursuit of evangelistic opportunities resulted in the salvation of a business woman (Acts 16:11-15), a demon possessed girl (Acts 16:16-24), and a Roman jailer (Acts 16:25-34). As a young Christian, an older man who mentored me encouraged me to start each day with a prayer for open doors. Since that time, I have often prayed something like this during my morning devotional time, “Lord, please send someone across my path today to whom I can witness.” It is amazing how God has answered that prayer so many times over the years! When we pray for open doors, the Lord seems to give them.
Pray for eyes to see.
Jesus’ ministry was driven by a heartfelt compassion for the souls of the people He met (Mark 6:34). He saw every man, woman, boy, and girl as a person created for a forever relationship with God. D.L. Moody once said that he saw everyone as having a red “S” painted on their foreheads. He had a burden concerning the souls of men. Pray that God would give you a similar passion.
Pray for the right words.
Scripture teaches that we should always be prepared to tell others about our relationship with Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). Having such a readiness may seem impossible. There seems to be an infinite number of questions, objections, and responses we might encounter. How can we ever be fully prepared? Fortunately, we aren’t left to our own wisdom. In the context of a conversation about bearing witness for Him, Jesus once told His disciples, “When they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you are to speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour” (Matthew 10:19). Though our Lord’s words were primarily intended for disciples facing persecution, there is application. When we pray for help in witnessing, the Holy Spirit within us will be our aid (John 6:12-13). He will give us the right words when we need them.
Pray for Holy Spirit conviction.
When Paul visited the first century city of Athens, “he was deeply distressed when he saw that the city was full of idols” (Acts 17:16). He proclaimed Christ because of a passion in his soul. There is a lesson for us in Paul’s experience. Many don’t witness because they simply don’t want to witness. Prayer will help this matter. The grace of God can create a supernatural desire to share Jesus (Colossians 1:28-29). If you want to be a faithful and effective witness, pray that the Holy Spirit of God would give you a burning desire.
Dr. Patrick Latham