You might be aware that we pray for our neighbors, a lot. We hang door hangers on the doors where we’ve prayed. We ask people how we can pray for them or their neighborhoods. Mission teams come and help us with this work. My kids love doing this work. Why do we do it?
First, I suppose because we believe that God has called us to love our neighbors as he has loved us (John 13:31-35). That’s a tall order when you think about how he loved us when we were sinners. And while we can serve our friends, we don’t necessarily know everyone in our city. They don’t all come to church services. We only know a few people from our work places and the coffee shops. And we haven’t yet met all of our neighbors out at the grocery store or in the parks. So we love and serve those we know and we use this outreach method to love and serve those we’ve yet to meet. It would be wonderful if we had a personal relationship with everyone, but we don’t. So for now, this is how we try to bless and love our neighbors. Maybe we’ll do it differently in the future.
Second, we’ve seen God’s timing in this effort. There are many times when people don’t seem interested in prayer or that we’ve come by; but there have been many times when people tell us they were just laid off or just diagnosed with cancer or just were hit with some other crisis. It’s almost shocking that in their moment of fear or struggle, we knock on their down and ask how we can pray. It’s amazing to see God’s timing for a hurting person who Jesus loves. He sent us to be his ambassadors, to offer encouragement and hope. So that’s what we’re faithfully trying to do.
And finally (although there may be many other reasons), we get to enter into the joy of Christ as we go with him on his mission for our city. We get to see Jesus working and it grows us. It stretches us. And we find joy in it. I’ve lost count how many missionaries have traveled to Salt Lake, done this prayer work with us, and been moved by God to serve the Lord in many ways in their own hometowns or on other mission trips. It is a blessing for those households we pray for; but it’s also a great blessing for us. And it’s filled with joy.
So that’s why we do it.
Is it the most effective thing we can do? I don’t know. Some would say no. But I know it’s better to pray with our neighbors than do nothing to be a blessing to them. With the help of the mission teams, we’ve prayed with our neighbors about 100,000 times, that is, we’ve printed and handed out about that many door hangers over the past four years. I don’t know how we’d have had that kind of ability praying for people if we stayed in our comfortable boxes and made no effort to stand with our neighbors in prayer to stand in the gap for them.
For the Kingdom!
Below is a Q&A video that might help answer the question.