What Should We Pray for in Front Yard Mission?
You know you should pray first, so here are some ideas on what to pray for.
In previous posts, we looked at why we should start with prayer in Front Yard Mission. What then should we pray for? Fortunately, the Bible gives us plenty of direction here. The most fundamental thing to pray for our Front Yard Mission is what Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer. There’s no better prayer to pray over our neighborhood and for our neighbors. When I don’t know what to pray for someone, sometimes I’ll modify each phrase with their name: “Give Bill his daily bread and meet all his needs.” “May Jane become a worshiper of you and know you as Father.”
But within the Lord’s Prayer, there’s no better phrase for your Front Yard Mission than “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done.” Luke places Jesus’ lesson on prayer in chapter 11, immediately after the 72 go out on mission to many different towns, and after Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in chapter 10. Jesus teaches them to pray in response to their missional efforts. Their minds and hearts were expanded with kingdom possibilities, so Jesus was inviting them to imagine what it would look like for the kingdom to come and God’s will to be done.
Our Front Yard Mission prayers should also be imaginative exercises. What it would look like for heaven to touch earth in your immediate vicinity? Or even more pointedly, how would it change your neighborhood if Jesus lived next door? If our response is like the disciples’ — and I think it would be — we’d all be ecstatic, then frightened, then purposeful. If Jesus lived next door, wouldn’t you introduce him to everyone you could? Because there’s just no one quite like Jesus. And if Jesus were living on your street, he would be lightening so many of the burdens that your neighbors carry. You know that in a matter of weeks, he would bring life and hope and healing.
“Ok,” you might be saying. “Dream big and pray big. But what exactly should we pray for our neighbors?”
Simple — start with what you see! Get specific. What specifically would be different if Jesus moved into your neighborhood?
- Which marriages or relationships would be transformed?
- Which disagreements or resentments would melt away?
- How would the lonely and those suffering on the periphery begin to flourish?
- What current needs would be met?
- Who are the poor, those struggling financially or with jobs or with food insecurity, and how would they be blessed?
- And of course, how would the spiritual climate change? Imagine each of your neighbors as fully devoted Christ followers, then pray for them accordingly.
Because God has placed you in this particular time and place, he can work through you to address all of these things and more. I’m not a big fan of telling people to “Be Jesus” to their neighbors, because you don’t need to “be Jesus.” He already has that covered. He’s alive and seated at the Father’s right hand and is present in your neighborhood through the Holy Spirit. But you can join him in what he’s already doing, and that starts in prayer. Start dreaming, asking, and imagining what it would look like for God to come in power in your neighborhood, then ask the God who does more than we can ask or imagine to do it!
As you pray, don’t stop with “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.” Scripture is packed with other promises to fuel our prayers as well. When we look Jesus’ instructions to the 72 who were sent to towns and villages in Judah (similar in size to many of our neighborhoods), we see several other things to pray for:
- Jesus sent them out in pairs (Luke 10:1). Pray for a partner in your Front Yard Mission.
- Pray for eyes to see the harvest as plentiful (10:2)
- “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (10:2)
- Pray for God’s care and provision for your needs (10:3–4)
- Pray that you would encounter a “person of peace,” someone who is receptive to the message of the kingdom and whose influence opens doors to others (10:5–7)
- Pray for tangible signs of God’s kingdom coming, including healing, and for spiritual receptivity in the places and relationships where God has put you. (10:8–9)
“I have been praying as I walk the loop around my neighborhood. A neighbor came out and shared he has been inspired by seeing me exercise and that moved him to get off the couch that day and be active. We had a nice conversation about ways to build community in our neighborhood…” — Mark
The apostle Paul’s ministry had him constantly moving out in love towards new people God had put in his path. He knew how to pray for these opportunities, and his requests for others to pray for him are helpful to us. For example, his words to the Colossian church are perfect to pray for our Front Yard Missions. If you’re at a loss or in a rut, this is a great way to pray:
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:2–6, NIV)