“What if prayer was the central component of evangelism?” This question spoke to my heart as I read Fuller Theological Seminary Professor Dr. Richard Peace’s essay Prayer, Evangelism, and Spiritual Formation. Dr. Peace adds, “By this I mean, what if the very desire to reach out to others was born in the fire of contemplative prayer where the presence of God was so palpable that one could not help but want to share this reality with others? What if prayer then became the very vehicle of evangelism, as we invite others to pray?”
Dr. Peace’s essay brought to mind a recent sermon by David Platt, President of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Relenting Wrath: The Role of Desperate Prayer in the Mystery of Divine Providence. Platt begins this sermon with, “The greatest barrier to the spread of the Gospel may not be the self-indulgent immorality of our culture but the self-sufficient mentality in the church evident in our prayerlessness.”
Both of these good doctors seem to agree that, while giving prayer ‘lip service’ and talking about its importance, we have mostly programmed God out of our evangelism. We tend to develop our plans and procedures then quickly ask God to bless them as we rush out the door to implement our strategies.
What if, instead, we actually took time to slow down, quieten our hearts and minds, and really listen for what God has for us and for the unreached? As Dr. Peace wrote, “…what if the very desire to reach out to others was born in the fire of contemplative prayer where the presence of God was so palpable that one could not help but want to share this reality with others? What if prayer then became the very vehicle of evangelism…”
Does this idea of contemplative evangelism ring true to you as it did with me? If so, I encourage you to read Dr. Peace’s essay Prayer, Evangelism, and Spiritual Formation. Then perhaps you may want to hear David Platt speak on the importance of prayer in making Christ known among the unreached. Both of these resources are available under the Other Voices tab at PrayerReach.org.
At PrayerReach.org you can also hear how XMA volunteer teams are incorporating prayer into our mission to bring the Gospel to the unreached. While there you can pick up a free copy of my book PrayerReach–‘Withnessing’ Among the Unreached and enroll in our free Deepen Your Prayer Life online contemplative prayer course. With an investment of just 20 minutes a day for 5 days the Deepen Your Prayer Life course teaches you a contemplative prayer method that Christians have been using for centuries to draw closer to God and to truly hear His voice.