With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Making the sign of the cross, I say,
O God, I am marked by your name. May all who see me today know that you are my God and give glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I invite my Lord,
Jesus, you call me to be salt and light. Shine through me, that those who see me see you. Season my words with your grace, that all who hear me hear you. Amen.
My God, why am I jealous of others when they have what I want? I compare and compete. I treat friends as rivals, neighbors as competitors. I am discontent with my lot in life and desiring of theirs. Free me from rampant selfishness. Forgive my jealous eyes. Inspire in me celebration for my brother and sister. You have given me the best things in my life. I want your best for them. No rivalry or conceit, only love.
Word: Colossians 4:2-6
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
Who are your neighbors? You may be tempted to give the Sunday School answer and say “everyone”. And while this is true (see the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 15), sometimes it isn’t very helpful. If everyone is my neighbor, it becomes easy to overlook the specific people God has sent us to serve and tell about Him. Instead, specificity leads to action.
So, who are your neighbors? The people next door or across the street or in your apartment building? What are their names? What do they do for a living or in their free time? Do they have family? If yes, what do you know about them? If you had to pray for them, what would you say?
Sometimes we might think that telling someone about Jesus means we have to have Scripture passages memorized, know apologetics inside and out, and be able to have an answer to every question. And while there is a place for all of this, Paul says “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders.” Many people aren’t ready to hear the Gospel in your first conversation with them. Instead, telling someone about Jesus usually starts with two simple acts: prayer and listening.
Pick one neighbor who you think might be far from Jesus and commit to pray for them/their family every day, especially that God would open a door for the message of the Gospel.
Pick a second neighbor you want to know better and listen to their story.
Prayer for Neighbors
- For my immediate geographical neighbors.
- For my community, neighborhood, town/city.
- For people hurting from broken families, addiction, violence, abuse, poverty, sickness.
- For the eyes of the Good Samaritan, to see and help my neighbor in need.
- For old neighbors and longtime friends; for an opportunity to meet new neighbors.
- For the strength to “love my enemies,” and to “love my neighbor as myself.”
- For the courage to be salt and light to those around me, bearing unique witness to God’s presence.
O God, I live among people hungering for something more. Satisfy them with your life and love. The lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” You told a story about a Samaritan who gave selflessly to a stranger. Who isn’t my neighbor? Help me to live like this, in Jesus name. Amen.