The Role of Prayer in Evangelism

I will be honest, sometimes I feel stupid when I evangelize. I am trying to communicate with the individual about spiritual things and my words hit such a wall, I might as well be speaking a different language. I bear my heart with the truth of Jesus’ love and saving power, and it is met with a “no comprendo, senior.”

There is a reason for this. It is because the Gospel is not natural, it’s SUPERnatural. So to the natural man, it won’t make sense. In fact, 2 Corinthians 4:4 states clearly,

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Satan has blinded the mind of the unbeliever. Blind means can’t see. Means no vision. Means eyes are closes. Means darkness. Blind. No wonder we encounter people that don’t understand the Gospel. Going further, Jesus referred to unbelievers as having a “strong man” that must be bound before they can believe. The strong man is a demonic stronghold of unbelief in one’s life.

So, what is the solution to this seemingly immovable problem? The answer is simple and attainable: it is prayer. If I could say that prayer is EVERYTHING in evangelism, I would. However, we often do have to speak the words of the Gospel to seal the deal!

If we want to win the lost, we must learn to pray for them. Prayer for those who don’t know Christ must be motivated by love and be teamed with determination. We must “pray through” for those who don’t yet know Christ. “Praying through” is more than a one line prayer. It is wresting, pulling down strongholds, warring, claiming God’s promises, groaning, and praying in the Spirit.

We know that Christ is more powerful than the enemy, but prayer is the currency of the Kingdom that brings the victory to pass. Jesus affirmed the need for fervent prayer through the parable of the persistent widow. If you are not familiar with this story, basically a widow annoys a judge enough to get him to act on her behalf. Then Jesus asks a few powerful and pointed questions as he finishes the story in Luke 18:7-8:

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Will not God? What powerful words. Will not God answer us? He will, when we cry out day and night. When we come with faith and fervency.

A couple years ago, I had the blessed opportunity to do a Bible Study with a few neighbors. Two of my neighbors were pretty engaged in the studies that I led, but one of them stayed distant and uninterested. He would often sleep upstairs through the studies, stay on his tv monitor, or act disinterested.

One night before our study, I decided to pray for the third neighbor. Not just a few sentences to God, but doing war in the Spirit for him. I probably went 20 minutes, imagining armies of angels to block the demons attacking him and calling out what I envisioned.

I will never forget the study that followed. I would have thought he was a different person. Not only was he not sleeping or watching TV, he was engaged full-throttle with more questions than anyone else. Interestingly enough, a lot of his questions were about the spiritual realm, angels and demons. He showed genuine interest in the Scriptures and participated all the way through.

I wish I could finish by telling you that he received salvation that night. He did not. But, I learned definitively, that night, the power of prayer. It was as if he learned the language I was speaking as I prayed. That is what the Holy Spirit does. He teaches natural people the supernatural.

One more story. A pastor in New York had a daughter who went wayward. She got involved with a guy older than her and ended up getting kicked out of Bible College because of their immoral relationship. Shortly after her exit from Bible College, she ended up pregnant. After struggling through the decision to keep the baby, she found herself living in her friend’s house with her child, hopeless and far from Christ. One night, her friend went to a prayer meeting that was actually hosted at her parent’s church.

The pastor and his wife shared with the church that night about their eldest daughter’s situation and asked the church if they would pray. The church took that time to pray earnestly for her life. Meanwhile, the girl at home was having a particularly difficult night and climbed into bed early. Unable to sleep, she looked up and saw a dark figure creep up to the foot of the bed and declare that he owned her and her daughter’s life. However, suddenly, another figure, full of light, joined them in the room and overtook the dark figure. She instantly felt complete freedom and joy fill her. She woke up the next morning and the feelings of peace had stayed. She repented of running from Christ and her sin, and reconciled with her parents later that day!

The prayer that night was so powerful, no person was even needed to witness! The angel defeated the demon and two lives, both the young woman’s and the daughters, were saved in that night.

I am reminded of a final story in Scripture that will encourage us. Peter was placed in prison and Scripture says that his Christian friends prayed earnestly for his release. You can read about the miraculous deliverance God orchestrated in Acts 12.

I want to encourage you that you could free one of your friends or family members from the prison Satan has them in through your earnest prayer! What a beautiful picture and beautiful hope.

Practical tip: When we talk about intercessory prayer, it can be intimidating. The enemy would want you to feel discouraged before you even start. You might say, “I don’t know the first thing about pulling down strongholds.” Here is a helpful tip that will give you everything you need to “pray through” for someone—

Just imagine that you are in their shoes. You are the blind one, headed to hell. How would you want someone praying for you? What would they need to pray for to free you from that prison? Just pray what comes to mind when you switch roles!

Prayer: Oh God, I pray that you would teach us to pray for the lost. Help us to not give up and hold you to your promises. You said your will is that all people would be saved and come to repentance. And you died so that their salvation is possible. Pull down blinders in Jesus’ name and open doors for those reading this blog to bring your Gospel to those who need it now. Amen.

PS. The girl’s name from the previous story is Chrissy Cymbala Toledo. You can read her full story through an internet search or in her book Girl in the Song.

Published by

Jesse Stirnemann

I am 27 years old and live in Sterling Heights, Michigan, just a few miles outside Detroit. My wife Rachel and I have 3 kids! I have been in youth ministry for 5 years. I also work as a Bereavement Coordinator at a Hospice office caring for grieving families. My passion is evangelism. I see no better greater way to spend my time than helping others get into heaven. My hope and prayer is to teach and inspire others on how to expand God’s Kingdom through evangelism!

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