Friends were asked to finish the statement "My day is not complete unless I …" Here are a few of the responses:
- Get a large coffee
- Floss (this is the friend I worry the most about)
- Eat an apple
- Check the weather
- Check social media
- Get a text or call from (name)
- Workout, eat dessert
- Make someone smile
- Read one Bible verse
If a person had asked Arthur Flake (the first director of Sunday School at the Baptist Sunday School Board now Lifeway Christian Resources) this question, his response would have been to pray daily for a lost person by name with the hope to share the gospel with them specifically. Flake greatly impacted the growth of Sunday School in the first half of the 1900s. He called on Sunday School teachers to pray every day for the lost people their groups were trying to reach.
There is a part of me that wonders why we don’t pray every day for people who are lost. We may pray every day for a friend going through a valley season until he or she emerges, so why does that garner our attention more often than a person’s salvation? The needs of these friends are real and pressing but so too is a person’s eternal destiny. Praying daily reminds us of the importance of salvation and of our responsibility to share with others. If sharing Christ is a daily activity, then praying for those with whom we will share should be a daily activity as well.
Why by Name?
Names are important. When we hear a name, images of people with that name immediately flash in our minds. The simple mention of a name can cause us to smile, grimace, or feel other emotions. That name creates an identity that goes beyond a casual glance. Praying for a person by name also moves us beyond casual prayer. How many times have we prayed for “all the missionaries in the world” without a single face or name flashing through our minds? There is just something about praying for someone by name. We become connected to that person in a different way. Compassion, empathy, and urgency come as a result of praying for a specific person.
Why for the Opportunity to Share?
Too many times, we find ourselves asking God to send someone to share Jesus with a family member or neighbor with the understanding that He will send anyone other than us. He may very well send someone else to share with the person for whom we are praying, but He may also be preparing us to have that conversation.
What would happen if we began to see praying for lost people as a daily necessity? How would that impact the Bible study groups we lead?