Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
We are believers united in purpose for the benefit of our neighbOURs in whom we dedicate ourselves to living the Prayer-Care-Share lifestyle.
Literally, we can stay home for heaven's sake!
No need for travel or child care. Already home.
Relationships reign supreme. Not curriculum.
A League is a small small group united by geography (literal neighbOURhood) committed to pray for, care for and share Christ with family members, friends, classmates, coworkers and neighbors, especially those who do not know Him. Praying, caring, sharing Christians impact the lives of those in their circle of influence. Prayer moves God’s hand in their lives (James 5:16). Caring demonstrates God’s love in practical ways (Romans 12:21). Sharing exposes them to the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16).
Every believer has what it takes to be a Lighthouse. Christ who is the Light of the world dwells in each of us. Lighting our world is simply a matter of letting Christ shine through us. As it is the nature of a light bulb to give light, so it’s the nature of a Christian to shine. Every true Christian, having access to God’s throne through Jesus Christ, can pray. Every believer, having been touched by God’s loving care, can care. Every child of God, having been touched by God’s grace, can share the good news. A Lighthouse lifestyle is Christianity 101.
Every Christian is commanded to pray for those around them. Scriptures urge us to “make requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:1). Everyone includes our neighbors, coworkers and classmates as well as family and friends. All believers are obligated to lovingly care for those around them by the very words of Jesus who instructed us to, “love our neighbors as we love ourselves” (Matthew 22:39). We are all challenged by Jesus to “be His witnesses” (Acts 1:8), to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) and to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks” (1 Peter 3:15). All of these commands require faith sharing.
God has chosen to work in this world through the prayers of His people. NeighbOURhood Leagues work because when we pray God works. His grace is released and His power directed through prayer. Building relationships with those who do not yet know Jesus is not difficult. People today welcome prayer and are open to those who pray for and care about them. Relationships lead to faith-sharing opportunities. Most people who come to Christ today come through the influence of a person with whom they have a secure relationship.
Start with those who are closest to you—a family member, friend, or someone who has confided in you. They are the most open. You have greatest responsibility with those whom God has put near you. Move on to those with whom you have a casual relationship—a cohort, coworker, fellow student or a friendly neighbor. Those who are comfortable with you will most likely respond to your prayer/care initiatives. Be concerned also for the cautious cautious—an acquaintance, wary neighbor, guarded coworker, teammate or attendant. They may also, over time, be responsive to your prayers and “love” for them.
Start with a prayer of confession for any failure to pray, or care or share in the past. Then make a prayer list beginning with those who are relational closest and most open to you. Make a commitment to pray for them at least five times a week. Ask the Holy Spirit for the help you will need to do this. Set a regular time and place, if possible, to pray for those on your list. Start immediately or sometime within the next 24 hours.
Think of the word BLESS to remember five important ways to pray for your neighbors: B Body – health, protection, strength L Labor – work, income, security E Emotional – joy, peace, comfort, inner quiet S Social – love, marriage, family, friends S Spiritual – salvation, faith, grace Pray especially for God to free those who are in bondage to the evil one giving them light to see, ears to hear, open minds and responsive hearts.
Start by building a relationship with each person you are praying for. Learn as much as you can about them—the names of family members, their work, friends, interests, concerns and needs. Prayer-walk your neighbOURhood. Try to understand what life is really like for friends, acquaintances and coworkers by putting yourself in their shoes. Do acts of kindness. Love people just for the sake of loving them! Remember how much they matter to God. Let God love them through you.
In order to be saved people must somehow “hear” the good news (Romans 10:14). Do what you can to make sure that happens. Ask the Lord to open a door of opportunity for you to personally present the gospel. Give them a book or video that focuses on Christ, involve them in a Bible study or take them to a church service or an evangelistic event where they will hear a gospel message. Remember “the gospel … is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
Be devoted and persistent in prayer. Ask God to deepen and strengthen your prayer life. Always pray with a clean heart and a willing spirit. Be kind and compassionate toward the unsaved and hurting around you. Be like Jesus who, when He saw the harassed and helpless, was moved with compassion for them (Matt. 9:37). Take the time to be with them. Listen attentively. Involve other Christians to pray, care and share with you. Many prayers and multiple relationships will increase you effectiveness.
Don’t expect to see immediate results. Some will respond quickly, others will take months or years. Take a long-term view. If one person came to Christ every ten years for each person in you church, the church would double in seven years. Memorize and hold on to the truth in James 5:16: “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." Be assured that prayer is powerful whether or not we see results. Something happens when we pray that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t prayed.
Over time you will discover that God is working in you and through you. It’s His power released through your prayers, His love channeled through your caring and His gospel through your sharing. You are partnering with God. You’ll find that being a member of a NeighbOURhood League is an exciting and fulfilling way of life. You’ll thrill to evidence of answered prayer. You’ll be blessed through new and growing relationships. And you will experience the incredible joy of seeing lost ones come to Christ. You will find yourself changing too — becoming more and more like Christ—the Light of the world. May being a lighthouse become a lifestyle—not something we do but something we are because of what Jesus has already done in us.