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FIRST-PERSON: Laying a prayer foundation for evangelism

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series of five columns about the National Evangelism Initiative, called God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS).

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–In North America, we have the opportunity to impact the world by sharing Christ with our friends and neighbors. Jesus commanded His followers, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19). The nations have become our neighbors. It is my prayer that every Southern Baptist church, regardless of size, would make a commitment to join with other Southern Baptist churches to embrace the National Evangelism Initiative (NEI).

The name of the National Evangelism Initiative is “GPS — God’s Plan for Sharing.” The GPS vision is “Every believer sharing. Every person hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by 2020.” We need this evangelism initiative to rally Southern Baptists back to our first love of seeing people saved, baptized and discipled in a New Testament church.

Just imagine if every Southern Baptist church really embraced the vision of preparing God’s people to pray, to engage the culture as trained witnesses, to sow the Good News of Christ, and to baptize (harvest) those who are gathered. We would certainly see revival occur and perhaps even a spiritual awakening.

Prayer is one of the four “mileposts” along the GPS roadmap and you can start praying right now as part this year’s Soul-Winning Commitment Day on Oct. 5. The question being asked this year is “Who’s In Your Wallet?” Southern Baptists across North America will be making commitments to reach out beyond the walls of their local churches to engage the culture with the Good News of the Gospel.

Believers will select three people for whom they will pray. Each church member will receive a 3-1-6 prayer card on which three names can be written down. They will carry this card in their wallet or purse as a reminder to pray for these three persons at least one time a day for six days. Secondly, they will be encouraged to pray that their relationship will open the door for a conversation about Christ. Thirdly, they will pray that the response of each of the three persons will be to accept Jesus as Savior.

We must start with prayer. Nineteenth-century pastor and author E.M. Bounds said, “When God’s house on earth is a house of prayer, then God’s home in heaven is busy and powerful in its plans and movements!”

The early church knew that the revival spirit of God was centered on intense and intentional prayer. “When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.” (Acts 4:31). “No person is a soul winner who is not an expert in the ministry of prayer.”

The ministry of prayer is key to seeing many souls saved. The person who prays will see many things answered from God that the prayerless person is denied. We need diligently to pray for the lost as we seek to take His message of salvation to those around us.
Ken Weathersby is senior strategist for evangelization for the North American Mission Board. For more information on the God’s Plan for Sharing initiative, visit www.nei2020.org. For more information about Soul Winning Commitment Day visit www.thebigday.org.

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  • Ken Weathersby