Simple Prayer Interviews
Last week we covered conversations that lead to conversion. You can still access that information on our website. This week I will cover how to pray with someone using a simple prayer interview.
One of the most fruitful methods of evangelization we have is to put someone directly in touch with God through prayer. Imagine if I told you a story about when I met Her Majesty, the Queen of England. You would probably be interested and would ask a few questions. Now imagine if I offered to take you to have afternoon tea with her. Suddenly I’m not just sharing an interesting story. I’m offering you a chance to meet an influential world leader.
It’s one thing to share our personal testimony of having met Jesus and telling people how to be saved. It’s quite another to say, “Hey, let’s meet him together right now.” And the good news is, God is far more approachable than the Queen.*
We can introduce people to Jesus through prayer. Here is a simple 4-step method to pray with someone.
1 – How can I pray for you? You would be surprised by how open people are to prayer, even if they doubt God’s existence. I’ve had self-described atheists let me pray for them. ou start by asking the person if you can pray for them. Avoid asking them if they would like to “pray with you”. For someone that has never prayed before, it can sound intimidating. Ask them what they would like prayer for, and tell them that you will do the praying. All they have to do is listen to the prayer and be open to recognizing God’s presence in their mind and heart.
2 – Pray out loud for the person. As Catholics we are used to praying Scripture and praying using memorized prayers and meditations. Those prayers are treasures of our Church. Every Sunday we also pray individual prayers for particular intentions. And the Church encourages us to pray spontaneously for our needs and the needs of others. God is much closer to us than the Queen of England is. He is Our Father and desires to be close to us.
If the idea of praying spontaneously seems intimidating to you, it is understandable. It’s going to take some practice and you have to give yourself permission to sound awkward the first few times. It’s no big deal. Here are a few suggestions:
- Start the prayer: “Father, thank you for (person’s name) openness to prayer. Thank you for creating them. Lord, please bless them right now.
- Prayer intention: Pray for the specific intention. The more specific the better: “Lord, please help (person’s name) find a new job so he can care for his family.”
- Praying the Gospel: “God, thank you that you sent Jesus to free (person’s name) from sin and death, so that they could live with you forever. Send your Holy Spirit into their heart, so that they will come to know you as Father and Jesus as Lord. God reveal yourself to this person.”
3 – Ask the person how they are doing. You can ask a question like “How do you feel?”,“How are you doing?”, or “Do you feel more at peace?” Listen intently to how the person responds and discern if any further prayer is required.Keep your prayers simple, and short. You should avoid praying longer than 30 seconds.
4 – Follow-up. Direct evangelization leads to relational evangelization. A 2-minute conversation can change someone’s life forever. We are seeking to lead people to an initial conversion and then to a life of discipleship. After you pray with someone you can follow up with them, exchange contact info, and invite them to meet for coffee or to an event at church.
There is so much more that goes into prayer and evangelization. We offer an entire course on Healing in Evangelization and prayer ministry. It covers all of the ins and outs, scenarios, and questions that pop up when you start praying regularly for others.
*Please don’t ask me to introduce you to the Queen. I don’t know her personally, and I imagine I’ll spend some time in prison if I try to sneak past security and through the barriers at Buckingham Palace.