Matthew 22:36-39 – “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible because loving your neighbor as yourself is the second greatest commandment, after loving God.
Jesus calls us to love our neighbors and most of us actively try to do that by meeting their needs and showing love in tangible ways. But another valuable way we can love our neighbors is by praying for them.
I have often found myself so caught up in helping neighbors with their needs that I forget to pray for them and the community we live in. While the work I do with them, or even for my neighbors is important, nothing is more important than the prayers I pray for them.
Hudson Taylor said “when we work, we work. But when we pray, God works.” Through prayer, God invites us to work with Him for the well-being of our neighbors. It is God’s way of giving us a stake in His Kingdom building work.
We want good for our neighbors and the community we live in, but too often we rely on the work of our hands instead of partnering with God and seeing things really happen. I must confess that prayer is sometimes the missing element in my attempt to care for neighbors and bless my community.
Let me suggest the following ways that we can pray specifically for our neighbors and the community we live in.
Pray that God would …
- Give neighbors a hunger and thirst for God and His Word.
- Heal the emotional wounds of people living in my community that relationships between neighbors would be made right.
- Remove any racial or social barriers that exist between neighbors.
- Destroy poverty in the community and grant economic growth to meet the financial needs of families.
- Deliver the community from alcohol and drug addiction.
- Drive out all occultic influence and evil activity in the community.
- Strengthen families in the neighborhood and bless each home.
- Provide opportunities for sharing the gospel so that many would hear and receive Jesus.
- Give believers a deep burden for the lost and an increasing desire to share the gospel with them.
- Bless the pastors and churches of the community, granting them power and protection as they minister.
- Deliver the believers in this community from self-centeredness and indifference toward those who need Jesus.
- Transform the homes in this community so that they will be Christ-centered.
THANK YOU Lord for placing me in this community and for what You are doing to bring about Your kingdom here. I pray that my neighbors in this community will come to know you!