1 Thessalonians 5:5 – You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. (NIV)
For the last two years, I've been constantly saying special prayers to God for a certain group of people. In our community, there are many quiet, shy, and lonely people, who find it hard to relate to others or become part of a crowd. They are not seekers of faith, nor do they have dynamic personalities. Most of the time, they want to be left alone, but sometimes they need help and don't know where to turn.
Several years ago, God placed a burden on my heart for these people, because without salvation, they will slip quietly into death and eternal darkness. God does not want that for any of us, for as Paul points out, "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:9 NIV) So I've started to pray for those whom the Beatles once called, "All the Lonely People".
Our church is growing because lonely people are turning up on our doorstep. They're being called by the Spirit of God and are finding their way to our church. It's an amazing thing to see this, and they're arriving here on Sunday mornings in ones and twos. We don't have an evangelistic program. We don't splurge on a neighbourhood campaign. All that we are doing is praying for the lonely ones, and, glory to God, they are coming!
The readers of this Daily devotional belong to many different churches. Here's a ministry that you can quietly undertake for your own congregation: pray each week for the lonely people in your community, and ask God not to allow them to retreat into the darkness of oblivion. Pretty soon, there will be amazement at the new visitors who appear, looking for a sanctuary and a safe place to belong!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us all hearts that care for lonely people. Help us to pray for them, to welcome them, and to help them. May our churches become safe places for those who are cast aside, forgotten, and ignored by the rest of our society. Enable us, through Your gracious love, to show them compassion, kindness, and care. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.