This is a plan to reach the neighborhoods of church members. The idea is to get church families to agree to become a Lighthouse Keeper in their neighborhood. There are three phases to this outreach:
Prayer: with God’s love! The participants pray for those in their immediate home surroundings. They draw a map of their street, apartment complex, or rural community listing about 20 names of those who are unsaved and unchurched. They begin “prayer walking” their communities and pray for their neighbors by name.
Care: with God’s strength! Here they get acquainted with their neighbors and establish genuine relationships. They learn to listen and try to find ways to minister to their neighbors by offering to help, bringing a meal or doing other deeds of kindness.
Share: with God’s power! At this stage they share a personal testimony, the way of salvation or an invitation to attend church services. The Jesus video is used at this point as a witnessing tool.
Leave the Light on for Your Neighbors: Participant’s Guidelines
Your home can be a . . . LIGHTHOUSE
Shine out . . . like beacon lights, holding out . . . the WORD of LIFE (Philippians 2:15b, 16)
Sometime today look out your front and back windows and count the number of houses or apartments you see. Look carefully. How many did you see? How many neighbors can you name? Jesus once told His disciples, “…open you eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35, NIV). It’s time to gather that harvest.
As the Church of God moves through the 21st century, our local churches must spread the light of Christ everywhere by praying for and sharing Jesus with every lost person we meet. This will not be possible without each family unit getting involved in a concerted effort to pray for and witness to each lost person in their neighborhoods. Each family can become a “lighthouse of prayer” and be a part of many lost people coming to a knowledge of salvation. This simple brochure describes the three basic concepts of the Church of God Lighthouse Strategic Plan.
PRAYER! . . . with God’s love!
- Just begin praying for a few neighbors you know! You may choose to find a Christian friend or two to pray with you.
- Next, you may want to make a simple map of your neighborhood. Write in the names of these households and any specific prayer needs that you know might exist.
- Then begin to add more of your neighbors’ names and needs as you identify them.
- You can begin to “walk and pray” (prayer-walking) your neighborhood! While at home pray “around” for your neighbors using your map!
- Pray regularly as you continue to add information, such as children’s names, etc., to your “prayer map.” A simple electric candle in a window may be a wonderful reminder for you to pray!
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone . . . This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved . . .(I Timothy 2:1, 3, 4).
CARE! . . . with God’s strength
- Be friendly! Greet your neighbors, whenever you see them. Cultivate friendliness! (Many people are very lonely! One quick wave or “Hi” may be his or her only contact with anyone all day or week!)
- Be ready to listen — people need to know that you care about what is important to them! Watch for needs they have or share. Let them know you will be praying for them!
- Build relationships by allowing time to be outside in your yard when they are usually out. (Saturday is a great day to mow the lawn, wash the car, weed or shovel snow.)
- Be quick to reach out with “random acts of kindness.” (Picking up trash on their lawn, moving their garbage can up by their home if they’re gone late that day, putting their paper near their door if it is left out on the drive long into the day . . . Anything that you see to do, TRY to do it!)
- Be quick to take a few cookies and a welcome to any new neighbors — be the “friendship committee”! Be quick to introduce new neighbors to others. Be known as the warm, helpful neighbor!
. . . Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31).
SHARE! . . . with God’s power!
- Allow the Lord to use you by inviting neighbors inside whenever they stop by! This may be when the house is not very tidy or when you have company. However, this will make you a real friend when you treat them like one.
- Plan simple coffees or teas with your neighbors. If it’s simple, they are not intimidated and will be more likely to invite you to their home.
- You can host a neighborhood baby or wedding shower, or invite someone new in your neighborhood to meet a few other neighbors.
- You can be an inviter. You can take a neighbor as your guest to a Christian women’s luncheon or a LifeBuilders men’s event. Neighbors can be your special guests at a church outreach service, evangelistic crusade, a retreat, or a Bible study as their interest dictates. (Take your time — God will lead you!)
- You can share a portion of God’s Word when appropriate. A devotional booklet, a Bible or gospel tract can be shared with your friends, associates and neighbors. Remember to keep it simple and non-threatening. This is an ideal time to introduce the Jesus video. This 83-minute video is the remarkable story of the life of Jesus Christ. The script is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke and was filmed at over 200 locations in the Holy Land. The Jesus video works! More than 4.5 million households throughout the United States have already received it. Independent research shows that for every two videos given, one person prays the prayer at the end. This video is a perfect gift. It is simple, valuable, and will be appreciated. The Jesus video offers an opportunity for laity to touch their neighbors for Christ. God may give you an opportunity to share your personal testimony. Watch — pray — look… see! When the time is right— reach out and minister!
Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Enemy’s Territory
One of the main reasons we pray is to extend our place in God’s plan outside of the place where we live. We may have little personal influence in the high places of government, for missions overseas or even in large parts of the cities in which we live, but through prayer we can touch the heart of God for many things.
The only problem with this is that, after a while, a lot of what we pray for can be vague for us. Can we make the object of our prayers more concrete? Can we put a visual image to what we are asking God for? Can we more easily share our burden for prayer with others?
The answer to all these questions is “yes,” and the means through which we do it is “prayer walking.” Prayer walking enables us first to unify with other believers in prayer, which will make our prayer more effective as the symphony towards God (cf. Matthew 18:19-20.) The second thing it will do is to put us physically where our prayers are needed. In doing all of this we can draw closer to God.
What Is Prayer Walking?
Prayer walking adds a new dimension to our prayer life. To prayer walk, we only need to do the following:
- Meet with other believers in a location that is an object of prayer
- Set aside time to get the job done
- Choose an appropriate area for prayer
- Walk, eyes open, praying for the needs that are literally in front of us
- Regather after the prayer and report
- Make sure your events are properly coordinated
It’s that simple. One definition of prayer walking is “praying on site with insight.”
Why Prayer Walk?
There are three reasons to prayer walk:
- For vision. As we walk and pray, we come to see our neighbors through God’s eyes. We can begin to sense whom God is drawing to Himself and we can become a part of it.
- For relationship. As we bring our prayers close to their homes, we make neighbors aware of our concern for God’s goodness in their lives. Our prayers can thus open new levels of friendship for Christ.
- For hope. As we pray Kingdom-size promises for our community, we help grasp a better Christ-focused level of hope for our cities. Steps of obedience spring out of the joy of hope.
The Goals of Prayer Walking
- To cover our entire city in prayer by prayer walking down every street and praying on behalf of the people, homes, religious centers, businesses, organizations and agencies located on the streets.
- To bless Christ-centered, Bible-believing churches and organizations by pronouncing blessings upon them, praying for them, and coming against spiritual powers that might oppose them.
- To intercede on behalf of the city by coming against authorities and powers that bring corruption and bondage.
- To effect spiritual reconciliation among people and entities by repenting for the corporate sins perpetuated against any group.
- To intercede on behalf of the city for a spiritual awakening that will lift the standard of righteousness and bring an end to violence, crime, and evil manifestation in the city, and most importantly for the salvation of the people of the city.
Where do we Prayer Walk?
Obviously the specifics of where we prayer walk will vary with our city and with our prayer agenda, but some of the places we could prayer walk are as follows:
- Overlook points
- Sites of harm or tragedy
- Sites of past sin
- Sites of ongoing sin
- Sites of strongholds
- Entrance sites into the city
- Churches (for blessing)
- Government and non-governmental authority sites
- Consecrated use sites (prayer mountains and hills, etc.)
If we are persistent in our prayer walks, we can pray for every person in our area. We can do this either by walking around the perimeter of the city or area we are praying for (sort of like a Jericho march), through its center, or in the places we suggested above. Prayer walking is an ideal opportunity for the local church lay coordinator to truly organize the laity for suitable service.
Noted author Ed Silvoso has a beautiful fourfold prayer evangelism model based on Luke 10:5-9:
- Bless your neighbors — through speaking peace over their households. Jesus said, “When you enter a house, first say, `Peace to this house'” (v.5).
- Love your neighbors — through a caring fellowship encounter. Jesus said, “Stay in that house, eating and drinking…” (v.7).
- Help your neighbors — through focused prayer and acts of kindness that meet a felt need. Jesus said, “Heal the sick who are there…” (v.9).
- Win your neighbors — through giving them a clear presentation of the gospel (i.e. the Jesus video, a booklet, a personal witness, etc.). Jesus told His disciples, “…tell them, `The kingdom of God is near you'” (v.9).