PRAYER FOR OPEN HEARTS
One of the most necessary aspects of intercessory prayer is in asking God to open the hearts of those we present the gospel to. This is a vital part of any ministry. Preparation for preaching must include dependent prayer for persons to receive the gospel truth. From my own experience, I know that when I do not give proper time in fervent attitude of heart to prayer, I do not allow the Spirit to form the message and give power for its delivery, or open heart before I speak.
We must give ourselves to genuine intercession for the hearers. While the Spirit must work in us who preach and witness, He must also work in those who hear so they understand the message. “No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God…The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:11, 14).
How then are we going to effectively preach, witness and minister since this is true? We have a perfect example in Paul’s ministry as he passed through Philippi. As he, Silas and Timothy met with a few in “a place of prayer…we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia…a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:13-14).
How often do we proceed with service of any kind without asking God to open the hearts of those we speak to? He alone can do this. This week I drove 50 minutes to a church to speak and spent most of the travel time in prayer asking the Spirit to prepare the soil of their hearts. HE DID! Even if you are not the speaker, intercessory prayer for others is your privilege.
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