Start with Prayer

By Joel Comiskey, Leadership Explosion (2023 version)

2023 holds many possibilities to make disciples who make disciples. Covid-19 is now in the rearview mirror. We have a new opportunity to reach people for Jesus and fold them into Christ’s flock.

The danger is moving in our strength and techniques. After seeing the vast needs,  Jesus was moved with compassion. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38). Jesus prioritized prayer, and so must we.

Paul had the same focus. In Colossians 4:3-4 he says, “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. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” Effective evangelism always starts with God’s work. And his work is always preceded by prayer.

After all, only Jesus can open blind minds. We cannot. Paul tells us that unbelievers are blinded, and they cannot see unless the light of the gospel of Christ shines to them (2 Corinthians 4: 4-4). God uses our prayers to open blind eyes and to stir hearts for the gospel.

Let’s start 2023 with prayer. God is calling us in 2023 to boldly proclaim the gospel, meet needs, and open new small groups. God also wants us to start with utter dependence on him to make it happen.

In my cell group, we went for a long time without fruit. Then one of the members encouraged us to fast and pray for lost souls. In just a few weeks, we had a new person in our cell who received Jesus that night. I had the privilege of baptizing her months later, and she still regularly attends our cell group. Her non-Christian husband has also come at various times.

We then went for another long period of not seeing evangelistic fruit. We decided to fast and pray again, and just a few weeks ago, we had two new people in the group (both were unchurched, and one was a non-Christian).

We’ve talked much about prayer on these blogs, but for February, let’s specifically focus on evangelistic praying. Experienced leaders and pastors will write 20 blogs in February. Click here if you’d like to receive these blogs in your email inbox. We’ll cover the following:

  • February 05-11: The power of prayer in converting men and women. Only God can set a soul free. Since regeneration is a miracle from God, He asks us to pray. Let’s talk about the power of prayer in the salvation of souls.
  • February 12-18: Praying as a cell. We will discuss passionate prayer in the cell group and various cell strategies.
  • February 19-25: Prayer in the larger gathering. All of the cell churches in Comiskey’s original study focused on praying as a church. We will talk about the power of prayer at the level of the entire church.   
  • February 26 to March 04: Testimonies of the power of evangelistic prayer. We will talk about the fruit God brings through evangelistic praying.