Monday has been given a bad rap! Perhaps the least favorite day of the week, Monday has a negative reputation. Pastors joke about how many times they have almost resigned, usually on a Monday morning. A popular song from the seventies described it like this: “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” But Monday has become one of my favorite and most strategic days of the week, since I began praying “The Monday Morning Prayer.” The Monday Morning Prayer launches me into each new week and serves as a catalyst for stimulating gospel conversations.
In five decades of following Jesus, I have discovered a sobering reality in my journey – I do not drift toward evangelism. I drift away from evangelism. I do not mean to do so. It is not a decision I make. It is not that I determine never again speak of Jesus. I just drift.
We drift from evangelism in spite of our joy in seeing people come to Christ. This, in spite of our desire to be obedient to Christ’s command to proclaim the gospel. This, in spite of the promise that Jesus gave to His first followers, in saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). What prevents us from experiencing this realty in our walk with Jesus? Why do we not naturally fish for men? Why do we drift away from evangelism and what can we do to change this? We drift from evangelism because of internal and external forces. Internally, there are forces that pull us from evangelism. The fear of man and the weakness of our flesh work against us. The fear of man along with the weakness of the flesh are common roadblocks for witness. Even the Apostle Paul, experienced it. To the church at Corinth he wrote: “… I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
Externally, we are engaged in spiritual warfare when we attempt to witness for Christ. Satan will seek to discourage the witness (1 Thes. 2:18) as well as blind the eyes of the unbeliever (2 Cor. 4:4). He will also seduce us into being a silent witness, convincing us that words are unnecessary. Although we witness by our life, we must witness by a combination of our life and our lips. The “witness” who witnesses only by his life, witnesses only of himself. Jesus said, “You shall be witnesses unto Me” (Acts 1:8). Romans 10:14 asks: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”
How do we counterbalance these forces? How do we overcome the internal and external forces that war against us? Several measures will enable a Christian to resist the drift. A simple tool can allow us to be consistent in our witness.
We must be intentional in our witness for Christ. How can we be intentional? A simple, yet profound technique is what I call “The Monday Morning Prayer.” Although not a scripted, literal prayer, what I am suggesting is a moment at the beginning of the week, Monday morning, when you ask the Lord to present you with the opportunity to share the gospel during the week.
Let Monday morning be a trigger for you to begin to be intentional about seeking a divine appointment to have a gospel-conversation with at least one person during that week. Be serious about asking God to place a person in your path, to lay someone upon your heart, to guide you into an opportunity where you seek to talk with an individual whom God has prepared to hear the message of the gospel.
The Monday Morning Prayer is about intentionality. We do not drift toward evangelism; we drift away. We do not drift back. If we practice personal evangelism it is because we are intentional.
The Monday Morning Prayer is also about spirituality. We do not do this on our own. We do not just begin talking to people. We pray. We ask the Lord of the harvest to send us into His harvest field. We ask the Lord to convict people of sin and draw them to Himself (John 16:8). Although we can proclaim truth, only the Spirit of God can impart truth and transform lives.
Scripture highlights the strategic value of prayer in evangelism. “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest’” (Matt. 9:37-38). The Apostle Paul said, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1). The Bible urges us to pray for those to whom God intends for us to witness. It has been said, before we talk to people about God, we would do well to talk to God about people! This scriptural mandate is at the heart of the Monday Morning Prayer.
The Monday Morning Prayer is about focus –– focusing on the harvest and the Lord of the harvest. It prevents the drift that we all have experienced. It is a reminder every week to be about the Father’s business.
Dr. Mark Tolbert is Director of the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. This article first appeared in the program for the 2017 SBC Pastors’ C0nference.