For no one can come to me unless the Father
who sent me draws them to me,
and at the last day I will raise them up.
(John 6:44, NLT)
We can’t disciple people if they aren’t first drawn by the Holy Spirit. We can certainly share our faith and our experiences and the word of God, but God must draw them to Himself.
So, what are we to do in this process? I believe we are to pray. When we look at what the disciples did in Acts, we see that they gathered and prayed, waiting for the Holy Spirit to come that first time (Acts 2). We see that they prayed when friends were arrested in prison, and God released them. We see in many examples throughout Jesus’ life and the life of the early church that prayer was central to all that they did.
We should be the same. We should be praying daily, and often during the day. The Bible challenges us to never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17). One of the prayers that has always challenged us in our ministry was the prayer of Jonathan Edwards when he cried out to God for days, “Give me New England.” Wherever we’ve served, we’ve prayed for God to give us that area – not for our purposes or glory, but that the Gospel would be received, and God would draw people to Himself in that area.
In Taiwan we had thousands of people around us. We prayed for God to draw them in. We prayed for opportunities to share God’s word. At times I felt we could be busy 24-7 with the people God brought to us. We saw people come in off the street as they walked past our church, and they would walk into our service and find Christ. One was looking for a place to offer an incense offering because she was making the rounds to all the local temples to pray for a need she had. She had no idea she was entering a Christian church, but when she couldn’t find the place for incense, she walked into our service and came to faith in Christ that night.
Now, we are in a more rural area of the United States. But the prayers are the same. Whether ten people in our area need Christ or ten thousand, we need to pray for God to draw them to Himself, and then as they commit to follow Christ, we need to pray for them as they grow in their walk with Christ.
So, our first vocation as Christians is prayer. In prayer we spend time with God, grow closer to Him, and learn more of Him. Our main focus as believers is always growing in our relationship with God. And as we pray, we know the heart of God which is for people to know and follow Him. We join Him in this desire and pray for people to be drawn to God.
As we begin to see these prayers answered, we teach the Word of God, share our testimonies, and invite people to follow Christ.
And the prayer continues. We pray for them as they grow, for protection from the enemy, and that they will share their faith with others.
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power
and produces wonderful results.
(James 5:16b, NLT)
As Christians we often want to know what we are supposed to do as followers of Christ. The main activities of every believer should be three verbs: Pray, Obey, and Say the Truth.
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?
And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?
And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?
That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of
messengers who bring good news!”
(Romans 10:13-15, NLT)