Prayer has been summed up as simply talking to God and Bible reading as listening to God. When we focus on prayer and our personal evangelism I think prayer can fall into three categories. First, prayer is talking to God about a person before you talk to that person about God. Second, prayer is talking to God about a person when you can’t talk to them about God. Third, prayer is talking to God about a person after you have talked to them about God.
But how we can best pray for the person on our heart.
Several years ago, our mission board, NAMB, came up with some points to pray for our lost friends using the acronym HEART. Here is how I use it.
H is for Heart. Pray for your friend to have a receptive and repentant heart. In the parable of the sower and the soils, Jesus told of only one kind of soil that was totally receptive. It was this soil that bore fruit. In the parable the seed was the Word of God and the soil represented one of four types of people as they respond to the gospel. You can see the story Parable of the Sower.
E is for Eyes. Pray for their spiritual eyes and ears to be opened to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, in the parable of the sower, Jesus says he spoke in parables because “…this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes…” (Matthew 13:15a, HCSB). They have closed themselves off from God because of their attitude toward Him.
The apostle Paul wrote describing much of the problem in people not receiving the message of Christ is blindness brought on by Satan’s work. “If, in fact, our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. Regarding them: the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, HCSB). So it would be a great idea to pray for the influence of Satan to be hindered and removed from the people you are praying to come to Christ as well as praying for themselves to be open.
A is for Attitude. Pray for your friend to change and begin to have the same attitude toward sin as God has. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes, “He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8, HCSB). There needs to be a dissatisfaction with the direction, values and choices in their life. They will need to take personal responsiblility for the outcomes of those choices. They will need to come to the place of the prodigal son who said, “I have sinned against heaven and in your (his father’s) sight” (Luke 15:18, HCSB). Pray for conviction to lead to repentance that will lead to life.
R is for Release. We are involved in the struggle to see those we care about released from entrapment to this world, their sinful nature and to the spiritual forces of darkness of this present age. In referring to what happened to us when we were saved, The Bible says, “He has deliverd us form the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingodom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13, NKJV). They need release. Some you know and love are trapped in addictions, relationships, wrong values and lifestyles or just plain sin. They need release from their sin and attachment to God through the power of the risen Christ.
T is for Transform. Pray for God to save them and to transform their life. The Bible says, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV). They need a tranformed life so they can know that good and perfect will of God and be useful in his kingdom (Romans 12:1-2).
Praying HEART is a great way to begin the sharing of your faith, because you are bringing that person to God in prayer. The Holy Spirit of God may guide you in your prayer time for your friend. Take note of how you are being led. This could later be important when you are in conversation with them.