By Eric Boerhout (Sverigebönen 24/7)
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. Matthew 5:15
For the past 3 years my family and friends have organised a Christmas celebration for the people in our little village in the countryside and the surrounding villages. We call the celebration: ‘Jul i Fagerhult’. Everyone is invited through personal contact or an invitation that we put in their mailbox. This year around about 80 people came and met each other on the grassfield next to our home. We tell the nativity story through a play and songs that are song by our local children’s choir as they are standing under a big tent. Sitting on haystacks and being warmed by fire baskets we have fellowship. We sell the Swedish hotdogs and warm waffles and have a small christmas market with lots of homemade fika, wreaths and artwork.
“Jul i Fagerhult” is one of the yearly 3 celebrations that we organise in our village. They are all ways in which we intend to connect with the people that live around us. To learn their names, to recognise their faces and to hear the unique stories behind all the wonderful people we share our village with. We believe God has placed us here for a specific reason, and that we are here to be ambassadors of His kingdom. In our own little way, we intentionally seek for opportunities to connect, share and listen. As we build up relationships, we pray that God opens doors for the Gospel to transform lives.
For us, to reach out to the community by being a full involved part of that community is as important as prayer for the community. Prayer and works go hand in hand. In the prayer room we ask God for our village, and by reaching out we trust God to answer our prayers. The connection with people is the key for effective and strategic prayer. As we share our lives with others, they become willing to share their lives with us. This gives us a chance to share the gospel and pray for their specific needs. To bring their names, families and circumstances before our Father in heaven. This way we open up a door for the unbelievers around us to experience God’s blessing. We become intercessors that fight for their lives.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Sometimes it is so easy to get disconnected. To be overwhelmed by the business of life and no longer see even our neighbours. But God loves community. He has placed us among darkness and brokenness so that we can become part of His redemptive work. He has made us a light to shine and give light so that others can come and see. When Jesus gave his disciples the great commandment, He told them to start in the place the lived. To go from Jerusalem, Judea and beyond. God is calling you as well. He is calling you to be the answer to the brokeness around you, through and small acts of love.
Here are some things that can help you to pray effectively and strategically for your surrounding:
- Ask God for the forgiveness of sins of they that live in your surroundings. Stand in the gap between God and them.
- Ask God if there are any spiritual strongholds that hold a grip on the minds and hearts around you as a result of their sins. This way you can start praying proclaiming God’s forgiveness and pray against any stronghold.
- Pray the word of God. The bible is filled with blessings and promises that you can proclaim over your village. Write down specific verses that God gives you for your surroundings.
- Be specific with names and circumstances and write them down somewhere.
- Reach out. Don’t be too busy to reach out to your neighbours, but intentionally seek for opportunities to get in touch and share your life.
- That God will raise up local intercessors to pray together and reach out to their communities.
- That God will reveal to us the strongholds that keep a hold on the hearts and minds of the people around us.
- That more believers will intentionally reach out with the gospel to their communities.
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