Many of us regularly walk through our neighborhoods, and almost all of us drive through our communities on a daily basis. What we often fail to do is use those times to pray.
Here are some things on which I focus prayer for my neighborhood:
Evidence of children. Maybe there are toys in the drive or a swingset in the backyard. Perhaps the kids are playing outside. When I see these evidences I pray for a) wisdom for parents and b) grace that they and the children would know the Lord.
“For Sale” signs. I pray that the family moving out would experience a gospel witness and find a church home wherever they’re moving. I then pray for the family moving in that a) if they’re believers, we could join forces to reach the neighborhood or b) if they’re not believers, someone — beginning with my wife and me — would be a witness to them.
Places of worship. If it’s a church, I pray that the true gospel would be preached there. If the place of worship represents a non-Christian faith, I pray God would turn its adherents to the true gospel — and that Christians in the community would be loving witnesses to them.
Homes in apparent disarray. Often this indicates some kind of chaos in the home, anything from family conflict to unemployment to health issues to aging homeowners — but prayer is always in order. God knows what’s going on behind closed doors.
Neighbors walking or driving through. I may or may not know the person, but simply seeing him or her deepens and focuses my burden for my neighbors. Somehow, briefly looking with gospel intentionality into the face of someone created in the image of God changes my heart.
Places of education. As a Christian educator I know how much we need prayer every day. How much more that seems apparent for administrators, teachers and students in the public school system! I pray particularly that Christians of all ages in that context would be strong witnesses for Christ.
Sites of government leadership. Paul told us to pray “for kings and all those who are in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2), and seeing the place where leaders serve reminds me to pray for them. Frankly, I need this reminder to pray for salvation and wisdom for folks with whom I often disagree politically.
Businesses. I typically pick one place of business as I drive to work and pray for its owners. More recently I’ve been praying for any business I visit (e.g., grocery store, restaurant, barber, gas station, etc.). The prayer targets are right there in front of me — I just have to be intentional.
Places of “life and death” service, such as hospitals, fire stations, police departments, prisons, funeral homes or cemeteries. Because I believe Christ and the gospel are the key to abundant and eternal life, I pray for those who deal with life and death issues every day.
My own home and workplace. Sometimes we pray for other people and places but fail to pray for ourselves. I’m still developing this habit, but I now pray for our home and for the seminary where I serve, every time I park in the driveway or in the parking lot.
I hope these ideas encourage and help you to pray!
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Chuck Lawless and originally published by chucklawless.com.