A pastor friend felt impressed to shape some serious intercession circles around a number of people he described as “attending non-members.” I don’t have to define that term; every church has some. There were 21 altogether who had been close to the church for a while but had never made a decision to ask Jesus to be Lord of their lives.
He made a list of the 21 and one afternoon delivered it to a shut-in lady who lived nearby and asked if she would take seriously the assignment to pray for every name on the list. He asked her to plead intently and often that Jesus would work in their lives and woo them to His side. She was excited to be invited and he was emboldened to take the list to others in his church whom he identified as passionate intercessors.
The mission caught on and many others in the congregation began to build bridges of authentic friendship with the individuals in this select group. The project never went public – no announcements were made, nothing in the newsletter, no poster on the bulletin board – but that stealth force took its work seriously.
Anticipating that God would honor the prayers of His people, the pastor decided to conclude every message with an invitation to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Six months later all of the people on the list of 21 had made a public decision for Christ. The last one to make that decision was a young thirty-something named Ray and through his previously resistant attitude toward the gospel, he represented perhaps the greatest miracle of the entire group.
But here’s the part of the story that brings me to tears every time I hear it. As Ray walked down the aisle, the pastor said to the congregation, “If you have been praying that Ray would make the decision he’s made today, would you stand.” Three-quarters of the congregation stood.
Here’s a church doing what a prayer-saturated church does: creating a place where the lost are found, loved, and intensely prayed for. That’s one of the features of a House of Prayer. The Holy Spirit calls the attention of the Body of Christ to those in whose lives He is at work, then lays on their hearts a personal and corporate assignment to join Him in His work. On a scale of 1 to 10, how’s that working out where you worship?