I purchased my Prayer Stand during the Summer of 2011. From the moment I took it out of the bag and used it for the first time, I was hooked. Click here to watch a promotional video I made for the Prayer Stand. And then read the following article for some helpful tips regarding its use.
Where to Set Up Your Prayer Stand
Where can you set up the Prayer Stand? Answer: anywhere on public property you engage in public evangelism. Here are some examples:
- Public parks
- Public sidewalks
- Outside public buildings (e.g. libraries, courthouses, county an city offices)
- Public college and university campuses
- Community events/festivals
- Sporting events
- Public property outside false religious institutions
With the above in mind, you want to set up the Prayer Stand in a location that makes it most visible without negatively impacting people’s movement. You will notice in the title image that the Prayer Stand is set up close to the corner of a building, on a public sidewalk. This setup allows for good visibility while giving as much room as possible for pedestrians to walk.
Another option is to set up the Prayer Stand next to a traffic light or street light pole, electrical box, side of a bus stop, or a permanently affixed sign. Anyone, including a police officer, would be hard-pressed to make the case that you are blocking a sidewalk, since people cannot walk through the before-mentioned objects.
Along with your Prayer Stand, you will want to have two to three chairs with you. Conversations at the Prayer Stand can be lengthy. If there is no available public seating, you will want to provide a seat for those who stop to talk.
Make sure you also have plenty of good gospel tracts, copies of the Gospel of John, or full Bibles.
Don’t Pray WITH Unbelievers
How you pray is vitally important.
A gospel conversation should always precede prayer at the Prayer Stand. You want to know for whom you are praying. Is the person saved or unsaved?
Scripture is clear. You should not pray with an unbeliever. You should never engage in any spiritual endeavor with an unbeliever.
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.'”
A Christian has nothing spiritually in common with an unbeliever. If a lost person prays, they pray to the God who does not listen to them (Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 11:14; Micah 3:4). They pray to the God with whom they are at enmity (James 4:4).
The lost person can pray and sing songs, but any effort to commune with God or offer Him worship is seen as an abomination to Him. God only accepts the worship of His people–Christians (Proverbs 15:8; Jeremiah 6:20; Hebrews 11:4; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Peter 2:5). Until the Lord Jesus Christ is his Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15), the unbeliever’s spiritual efforts are nothing but sin (Romans 14:23b).
To give a lost person the impression that they are in fellowship with or offering acceptable worship to the God they neither know nor obey nor love nor serve is to participate in and even encourage the unbeliever’s storing up of wrath for the day of wrath (Romans 2:5).
While the Christian cannot pray with unbelievers, the Christian most certainly can and should pray for unbelievers.
Praying FOR Unbelievers
If you use the Prayer Stand, rest assured people will stop and ask for prayer. It may not happen every time you’re out, but it will happen. Some of the requests for prayer I’ve received include, but are not limited to:
- Physical healing
- Positive outcome to criminal proceedings
- Comfort after the loss of a loved one
Again, before I pray with anyone–professing Christian or admitted unbeliever–they hear the gospel from me.
I never presume that that for which the person is asking for prayer is what the Lord wants for them.
God may not want the person to receive physical healing.
The relationship the person wants restored or improved might be a relationship that is sinful in the eyes of God.
Improved finances are not always a good thing. Maybe the person has been a bad steward or gained and lost riches as a result of dishonesty. What if the Lord is disciplining or punishing the person by allowing them to be in lack or need.
Good grades? What if in order to get a good grade the person standing in front of me has to affirm blasphemous fairy tales for grownups, like Darwinian Evolution? Why would I pray they get a good grade in that class?
Of course, I do not want anyone to be addicted to anything–chemical or otherwise. The roots of addiction are self-love and idolatry. But sobriety without Christ is nothing more than hopeless behavior modification. How then should I pray?
I’ve set up the Prayer Stand outside of courthouses. If a person is truly guilty as charged, why would I pray for an outcome to the proceedings with which the accused will be happy.
Yes, we should weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). But I should not pray for the mourner to simply feel better and get over his real sense of loss. What if his relationship with the deceased was idolatrous or sinful in some other way?
If you decide to use the Prayer Stand, don’t pray like a prosperity preacher. Don’t pray like a self-help guru. Don’t make promises for God that He will not keep because the promises you erroneously make are not in keeping with His sovereign will. Don’t give people false hope or leave them with the impression that you served as today’s rabbit’s foot. Pray biblically.
When I pray for unbelievers, I pray the gospel. My prayers are not merely petitions for the person in front of me. It is an opportunity for me to worship my King and affirm His plan of salvation–the plan He determined for me, before the foundation of the world. Additionally, there are several passages of Scripture that both inform and direct my prayers.
Scriptures to Help Direct Your Prayers
The following Scripture passages are helpful to me as I pray for unbelievers. Passages like the ones that follow sometimes fill my mind with biblical thought. Other times I will recite the passages as part of my verbal prayer.
This is not an exhaustive list and the passages are in no particular order.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:35-36).
“For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17).
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34).
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:5-9).
“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:29-31).
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).
Thanks Tony, this is a great article and an incredibly helpful tool.
Anthony V Stevens says
Howard Tryon wrote a book that is about 20 years old or so called Praying For You. Similar but his point is to build a spiritual relationship with people over time so that sharing the gospel is not some awkward experience that could destroy the friendship, but rather a natural conversation that flows from the friendship that has already been built between the two people. Two different approaches using the same avenue of prayer.
Tony Miano says
Sadly, relationship or friendship evangelism, as it is most commonly practiced places more importance on the friendship than the soul of the friend. While it is not wrong, per se, to develop a relationship with unbelievers, it is not at all necessary for the purpose of evangelism.
I have written extensively on the subject: https://carm.org/friendship-evangelism.
Mike Wells says
Love this Tony! I’m going to try to add this approach to my church as an outreach. Where can I buy a prayer stand like this? I found one site that would sell it for like $600!
Thanks in advanced! God bless you brother!
Tony Miano says
$600 is what I spent several years ago. I only know of the one site that sells them.
I live in the United Kingdom and would like to buy this kind of prayer stand for evangelism.Which site would I be able to purchase it from?
It’s a great tool