How to pray and fast

Praying Through the 5 Thresholds

Today, many people pass through the same five distinct stages on their journeys to Jesus: from distrust to trust, from complacent to curious, from being closed to change in their lives to being open, from meandering to seeking, and entering into the Kingdom. You can learn more about each stage by reading The 5 Thresholds of Postmodern Conversion Overview.

Understanding this process will help you learn how to pray for and encourage your friends along their journeys, even though not all of them will become Christians. Below you'll find some ideas for how to pray for your friend each step of the way, and how to pray through your own emotions and needs in the process as well.

THRESHOLD 1: Trusting a Christian

Today, Christianity and religion are suspect and distrust has become the norm. The first threshold, then, involves your peer beginning to significantly trust you as a Christian.

Prayers for Your Friend in Threshold 1

  • God, lower _______’s defenses toward Christians. (1 Cor. 9:22)
  • God, give me opportunities to speak into _______’s life. Help me to offer wise advice and that they would “warm up” to the idea of God and his interest in their life.

Prayers for Yourself

  • God, grant me patience as I build trust with ________.
  • God, help me to lose any defensiveness in my attitude. I want to grow in sharing your love for them.
  • God, show me where there is distrust in our relationship. Give us clear communication so that we can wrestle through their deeper needs together.
  • God, captivate me with __________. Show me what it is to really care and pray for about the things _______ cares about: their family, concerns, hopes, fears, joys, and struggles.
  • God, even when it’s hard, help me to make the choice to bond with them. I’m ready to leave my comfort zone if that is what it will take.
  • God, as I’m pursuing this friendship with ________, I need your protection. Keep me from sin by participating in activities that might compromise my character or integrity.
  • God, help me to see the good that _____ does. Give me the courage to name it and affirm it in them.
  • God, help me to grow in the gifts of hospitality and transparency.

THRESHOLD 2: Becoming Curious

In the second threshold, your friend will start to become more curious about spirituality, and it may involve you needing to provoke them to think differently as well.

Prayers for Your Friend in Threshold 2

  • God, cause _______’s curiosity to bloom from awareness to engagement to exchange. (Luke 8:11-15)
  • God, help ______ to grow in awareness. Cause their personal experiences to not be enough, and put people and situations in their life to show them that there are more options.
  • God, grow ______ out of their old and inadequate understandings of God.
  • God, clear ______’s schedule. Create space for them to be open to engagement and investigation of Scripture.
  • God, intensify ______’s curiosity so that they desire to exchange their ideas, ask their questions, and offer their opinions.
  • God, entrance _______ with Jesus. Let his life and work bother them.

Prayers for Yourself

  • God, clear my schedule. Help me to make space to be available for give-and-take.
  • God, give me an inquisitive mind. Help me to encourage questions and to ask questions.
  • God, I need insight. Make the dots that your placing in ______’s life clear to me and help me to pay attention to everyday "parables". Give me insight as I identify and connect those dots with them.
  • God, cause me to live a curious, countercultural, kingdom-oriented life.
  • God, show me ways I can grow in community and generosity.
  • God, as I talk with _______, I need patience. I want my focus to be growing _____’s curiosity about Jesus, not to diving into apologetics.

THRESHOLD 3: Opening to Change

The third threshold can be particularly difficult to cross. Read Brittany's story for example in Why I Stopped Being a "Nice" Christian. You'll need to be especially patient at this stage and learn how to challenge your friend well.

Prayers for Your Friend in Threshold 3

  • God, give _____ openness and clarity into their own life and situation. Show them the ways that you are calling them to change and explore truth. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
  • God, show ______ the world with a new light. Only you can truly speak into their situation. (Matthew 13:15)
  • God, give _____ the boldness they need to ask the real questions they've been hiding from.
  • God, assure _____ that they have security in our friendship. Show them that I am a safe person to talk about deeper issues with.
  • God, protect ____ against spiritual attack or distraction during this time.

Prayers for Yourself

  • God, provide me with insight to see the question behind ______’s question.
  • God, thank you for the ways you’ve already been working! Please give me the patience I need to continue pursuing _______ for your kingdom.
  • God, during this time, I need a community. Show me the people who can to hold me accountable and help me from growing weary in prayer.
  • God, call me to challenge ______ in ways they are ready for.
  • God, help me to speak with "nonjudgmental truthfulness" about my own brokenness.
  • God, I need clarity as I help _____ interpret the events leading up to this threshold.

THRESHOLD 4: Seeking After God

In the fourth threshold, you'll sense an urgency and purpose to your friend's spiritual search. It will be an especially good time to model your Christian walk for them.

Prayers for Your Friend in Threshold 4

  • God, increase ______’s curiosity about Jesus and a give them an insatiable desire to come to conclusions about Jesus. (Acts 4:29)
  • God, instill in _______ a sense of urgency and desperation.
  • God, help ______ to look at the situation realistically. Help them to see the real sacrifices involved in following Jesus. (Luke 14:23)

Prayers for Yourself

  • God, help me to see where ______ actually is on the path to knowing you, not where I’d like them to be.
  • God, show me the questions behind the questions they’re asking.
  • God, let your answers be my answers, not theological jargon.
  • God, give me genuine enthusiasm that they're asking questions about faith.
  • God, teach me during this process, too. Give me wisdom how to best explain the concepts they're asking about in a way that's not riddled with “Christianeese.”
  • God, help me to show hospitality as I guide ____’s seeking.
  • God, teach the community surrounding them to be welcoming and transparent. (Matthew 9:38)
  • God, give me clarity as to how to challenge them.

THRESHOLD 5: Entering the Kingdom

The fifth threshold is when your friend finally decides to repent and follow Jesus! You'll want to pray and encourage them to move out of seeking mode and making a decision.

Prayers for Your Friend in Threshold 5

  • God, show them Jesus’s value so that they would see the value in Jesus and be willing to "sell all."
  • God, give ________ appropriate urgency. (Acts 20:21)
  • God, strengthen ______’s new muscle: commitment. Help them as they adjust from seeking to commitment. (Romans 10:9)

Prayers for Yourself

  • God, give bold, clear invitations to enter the kingdom through me. (Col. 4:3)
  • God, teach me patience and clarity as I am trying to understand their final roadblocks to faith.
  • God, don’t let me oversimplify or overcomplicate the gospel; let me be clear as to exactly what they're being invited into.
  • God, protect them against spiritual warfare as Satan won't be pleased with their new decision. (2 Tim 2:25-26)
  • God, give us opportunities to creatively celebrate your work in bringing ______ into the kingdom!