Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Have you ever snatched someone out of the fire? Have you thought about it much at all? Please allow me to have a heart-to-heart talk with you for a moment. Who comes to mind when you think about those you love or know who do not know Jesus? I know the thought of them being lost for eternity upsets you deeply, and yet most Christians don’t spend much time, if any, doing anything about it.
Please stay with me for just a few minutes. I promise you this prayer day will not be a guilt trip heaped on you about soul winning. It is meant to help you see just how much God longs for you to engage with Him daily so that you can understand the area closest to His heart.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 nasb)
We can’t save a soul by ourselves anyway; it’s only done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Instead, as we grow deeper in our relation- ship with God Almighty, we recognize that He has a special place for each of us in reaching others for Jesus Christ. Even though it’s not the same way for everyone, each one of us is just as important to Him.
You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain.
(John 15:16 nasb)
In reaching the lost for Jesus, we are answering this call to bear fruit that remains. We don’t have to be a famous evangelist like Billy Graham. In fact, most of us will never preach a sermon on Sunday morning, write a book, or even lead a Bible study. But there is a place for all of us to follow the Holy Spirit’s appointed call to be a fruit-bearing Christian in this way. Of course, we bear fruit in other ways in our Christian life, but the one closest to God’s heart is the reason He sent His Son into the world in the first place, so that none would perish. They would be snatched from the fire to enjoy eternal life with the Almighty.
Do you believe it takes gas to run your vehicle? Well, your belief doesn’t do you any good unless you go to the pump and get gas! Perhaps you’re low on fuel in your fruit-bearing spiritual activity because you have not been going to the right pump.
Maybe you’re thinking, Jim, I can’t speak in front of a large group like you do. But perhaps God is calling you to lead a smaller group or Bible study, or invite people who don’t know Jesus to your home to open doors for the gospel.
Are you quiet or introverted? Is it hard for you to speak to strang- ers about the Lord? Maybe God is calling you to intercede for those who are dying without Him.
Do you understand the fruit you can actually bear in your prayers? You can snatch someone out of the fire through your intercession! God is waiting for all of us to ask to be used to share the gospel with the lost.
You can snatch someone out of the fire through your intercession! God is waiting for us to ask to be used to share the gospel with the lost.
Prayer is the activity that allows us to engage with God every single day. That not only puts us in the position to receive from Him, but prayer can also accomplish great things for His purposes and for His glory. E. M. Bounds wrote, “The Gospel cannot live, fight, conquer without prayer— prayer unceasing, instant and ardent.”
Can you imagine what a praying church could accomplish? How much more strength would our pastors, their wives, and their families receive if we cried out to God consistently every day for them? How many of our friends and loved ones would be saved and delivered if we cried out to God daily for them? How much more productive would our careers be if we cried out to God daily and asked for His almighty hand to move the obstacles in our path? If we asked Him for His wisdom about the situations we, or our children, were confronting? How much more would our country want to honor God if we consis- tently cried out to Him?
Saving others by snatching them out of the fire is crucial to a God who sent Jesus to seek and save the lost. Sadly, according to statistics on evangelism, 95 percent of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ. Nearly 49 percent of leadership ministries spend no time in an average week ministering outside of the church, and 89 percent of lead- ership ministries have no time for evangelism on their list of weekly priorities.
I believe that God has a place and plan for each of us, not just spiri- tual leaders, to reach the lost for Jesus, and He will use the specific gifts He has given you. What really matters is what God wants from me— what God wants from you—and receiving from Him the ability to do whatever that is. Receiving from Him is the key. When I humble myself in His presence, ask my heavenly Father to forgive me for anything in my life not pleasing to Him, fill me fresh daily with His presence, and give me His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, I am now in the posi- tion to receive from Him whatever it is I need to fulfill my mission for His kingdom and His eternal glory. I can pray daily, “Father, please use me today to make faith come alive in someone’s heart somewhere today.”
Let’s look at the fifteenth chapter of John again:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
(John 15:16 niv)
Whatever we ask the Father in the name of Jesus, He will give it to us! That is a promise from God that is clearly conditioned on us bear- ing the fruit that grows as we abide in Him. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Only God can make the fruit grow; we cannot do it on our own. Our part is abiding in Him.
God has a promise for us attached to His appointment to bear fruit for Him. He didn’t have to promise us anything, but He did. Now I can go confidently to my Father in prayer and ask Him for the things I am seeking from Him. I can now rest assured that if what I am asking from Him is in His will for me, I will receive it.
This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
(1 John 5:14–15)
Since God has placed me in the business world, He wants me to be successful there, so many of my personal prayers over the years have been in that area. I still have to challenge my heart, “Am I really doing this for His glory or for mine?” If I stay before God daily in an attitude of humility and gratitude, and keep my focus first on His kingdom, I am in a position to receive the answered prayer and the blessing God would like to give to me as His son. When our first priorities are pleas- ing Him and doing those things that please Him, our selfish hearts more easily stay submitted to His will and not our own.
I want to please my heavenly Father and use the gifts He has given me. Since God has appointed us to bear fruit, let’s accept from Him the ability to perform our part in His kingdom. Let’s step into the appoint- ment or position in His kingdom that He has ordained for us.
Let’s follow after God’s heart today to intercede for the people we know who do not know Jesus, snatching them from the fire in prayer.
Excerpted from “21 Days of Deeper Prayer: Discover an Extraordinary Life in God” by Jim Maxim with Daniel Henderson, © 2020 by Jim Maxim. Published by Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA. Used with permission. All rights reserved. www.whitakerhouse.com.
Free audio prayers found here: www.acts413.net/deeperprayer