#1: PrayLove Your Neighbor Challenge
Of course, the first Love Your Neighbor Challenge begins with prayer – in fact, we couldn’t call this little experiment a success if each day didn’t begin with prayer!
Prayer won’t change God’s heart toward your neighbors (He’s already crazy about them!), but it will change you… and – who knows? – your home in heaven could have the same next door neighbors as earth!
“There’s no perfect prayer formula; there are no perfect prayers or pray-ers.”
How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird, page 174
There’s no perfect formula for praying for our neighbors, but it does help to be specific and focused. Try these tips and tools when praying for your neighbors:
1. Pray by name
Register at www.blesseveryhome.com to receive a free, detailed map of your neighborhood with the names and addresses of your closest neighbors. Every day they’ll send 5 new names and provide space for you to save notes and prayer requests. Update your map as you pray for each neighbor and get to know them on a deeper spiritual level. This site is a treasure of detailed information about your neighborhood – and it’s all free!
2. Pray with your pen
Sometimes I write my prayers in a scribbly scrawl no one will ever decipher, but the act of writing helps me concentrate. Close your eyes at the keyboard and pour out a letter to the Lord. Give God time to talk while you listen, and remember that a serendipitous thought may be His soft whisper – so keep a notepad nearby to write any ideas that come during prayer. Record your prayers in a pretty prayer journal or the back of an envelope… both are equally effective! But it is nice to look back over a prayer journal and see how God has responded to our requests and answered prayers in unexpected ways.
3. Pray with song
Pray along with these songs and ask God to make them reality in your community.
Do you wonder how to pray for your friends and family, the neighbors on your street – or even for yourself? The prayers in this free guide are straight from Scripture with space to fill in your loved one’s name.
Selfishly, praying God’s Word and God’s will is a surefire way to get more of your prayers answered! Spiritually, prayer changes you more than it changes God as you pray with confidence and hope-filled expectation.
4. Pray the Word
Pray these Scriptures for you and your neighbors.
Pray that you will be transparent and show your own need for a Savior.
“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:15-16
Pray that you will be a good influence in your neighborhood.
“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” 2 Timothy 2:23-25
Pray for unity in your neighbors’ homes and your community.
“Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” Philippians 2:2
Pray that your neighbors would turn from darkness to light.
“[I am sending you] to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’” Acts 26:18
In Jesus’ name, amen!
We’re going to offer so many different ways to love your neighbor, so please return to #1 over and over and over again. What’s your favorite prayer for your neighbor? Share in the comments below or on Instagram/Facebook.