“Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39NIV
From the time that Jesus expanded His audience’s definition of their “Neighbor,” millions of people have traveled across town or across the globe to administer care and share the Gospel. It is a vital part of obeying the Great Commission to “go into all the world” to make disciples; the problem is that sometimes we pass by those in greatest need as we drive out of our neighborhood and head to the airport to fly to our “mission field.” Neil Cox, the coordinator for our LOVE2020 Community Development and Justice sphere, often reminds me that everyone begins and ends their day at home; and the homes you pass on your way to and from work, school and church are filled with our neighbors who need prayer, care and to have the Gospel shared with them also. Jesus never intended for us to exclude our next door neighbor, just expand our hearts and reach to love more “neighbors.”
One of the greatest tools for praying for my neighbors was introduced to me by Chris Cooper. The Pray4EveryHome.com website prompts people to sign up with their zip code and then sends the names and address of your neighbors each day with a specific prayer prompt to get you started. It is an effective way to BEGIN praying for your neighbors by name. I encourage you to prayer walk your street, possibly your whole subdivision each day or a few days a week, but instead of being focused on getting exercise, go for a walk with the purpose of meeting a new neighbor or striking up a conversation with a neighbor you met recently to have a deeper conversation. Go visit the 5-10 houses to the left and right of your home; get to know them, their needs, where they go to church and through these conversations you will learn how to pray for them, what care you could give and based on your conversations, when to share the gospel with them.
I will introduce and explain the actions steps of LOVE2020 in each blog; slowly expanding your mission field with a variety of possibilities and resources that will help enable you to live a prayer, care, share lifestyle. I have been reading through the four gospels and I noticed that each story, lesson, conversation and miracle happened while Jesus was walking, traveling, sitting by the shore, going from one place to another. In other words, Jesus ministered every day, along the way. Jesus got up early while it was still dark to pray, He conversed with His Father and then set out to minister to those who crossed His path that day as He was on His way somewhere. That is exactly how a prayer, care, share lifestyle happens! Love begins at home; with your family and your neighbors…your next door neighbors. I challenge you to touch every “neighbor” with the love of Jesus by the end of the year 2020.
Love is a verb…let’s get moving!
For more ideas, check out the prayer, care, share strategy for the Community Development/Justice, and the Neighboring spheres in the “Strength Conditioning” section.