One day when Jesus was teaching, a smarty-pants professor asked him what was the most important commandment of all. Maybe he was sincere. Or maybe he was trying to trap Jesus. (I’d have to hear the tone of his voice to know for sure.) Jesus’ answer actually wasn’t one thing, it was two things. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Then he added, “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30–31).
For Jesus, loving God and loving people couldn’t be separated. And that’s why we’re spending Saturdays praying for and loving others.
Although Jesus didn’t mean at all that our love should be limited to those whose homes or properties bump up against our own, that’s who we’re going to pray for this first Saturday of our prayer journey: the neighbors who live near us.
So close your eyes and picture the people who live on your street, in your condominium, in your apartment building and offer them to God. Write down their names in this book. Be sure to include all the members of each household near you: singles, couples, babies, children, teens, grandparents, and anyone else who lives near you.
This morning you noticed and prayed for all the folks who live near you. This afternoon, pray for the physical needs of these neighbors:
God, provide __________ with clean air, water, and food to eat.
God, provide __________ with adequate shelter and sleep.
God, provide __________ with clothing for their bodies.
God, provide __________ with the work they need to survive and thrive.
God, provide __________ with good physical health.
God, provide __________ with the belongings they need.
God provide __________ with transportation for school and work.
As you pray, expect that God’s Spirit will remind you of your neighbors’ physical needs. As you notice these needs, offer them to God and be open to ways God might use you to meet them. (Let’s be clear: this doesn’t mean that you’re the Savior. But it may mean that you can connect a neighbor to another who drives to the same school, or that you can share clothes your kids have outgrown. Let God provide for others through you!)
As God leads, jot down the needs you’re lifting up for your neighbors beside their names in this book.
Pray for your neighbors’ “heart” needs:
God, provide _________ with good emotional and mental health.
God, provide _________ with healthy relationships.
God, provide _________ with the partner or child or other good relationship for which they long.
God, provide _________ with a relationship with you.
God, provide _________ with the spiritual nurture they need to flourish.
As you pray, expect that God’s Spirit will remind you of your neighbors’ emotional or spiritual needs. Offer them to God and be open to ways He might use you to meet them. (Reminder: you’re not the Savior. In case you were confused. But God may nudge you to invite a neighbor to join you at church or to share a spiritual book that’s been a blessing to you.)
Beloved, this evening and throughout our prayer journey, I want to remind you that you are not alone:
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” —Exodus 14:14
Do you know what that means? You can let it go and wait on God for His intervention in the lives of your neighbors. You can cease striving to fix things yourself and watch God work things out for you. You can relax and let Him fight for souls.
The more you trust Him, the easier it will be. And trust is built with time.
As God leads, jot down the needs you’re lifting up for your neighbors in your prayer journal.
From Chrystal Evans Hurst's The 28-Day Prayer Journey