Have you ever had one of those neighbors who were just hard to love? Some years ago, my husband and I had a very humbling experience with one of our neighbors. We had just moved into our new home and there was a knock at the door. Behind the door was a woman, who didn’t introduce herself, but instead handed me an envelope and said, ‘give this to the owner’ and then walked away.
Turns out the woman who handed me the envelope was our neighbor. Inside the envelope was a bill for a few thousand dollars stating we owed her money for our ‘shared’ fence. We had been the fourth owners of this property and were very confused to be informed we ‘owed’ our neighbor money. We thought by ignoring the hand-delivered letter we would avoid our neighbor’s request. We were wrong.
As it turned out, our neighbors were lawyers. If we didn’t address this issue they would take us to court. Even in our debacle, I heard God’s voice whisper to me, ‘love your neighbor.’ Technically we didn’t owe them money because of the statute of limitations. We knew if we didn’t oblige, our time would be spent arguing in court about whether or not we owed them money.
In the end, we gave them money for the fence. But something happened in the process. It changed our hearts. Our decision to love our neighbor instead of arguing with them showed them kindness and softened our hearts.'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.' Matthew 5:44Click To Tweet
Maybe you don’t have an extreme neighbor situation like we had, but maybe there’s that one neighbor that rubs you the wrong way. Maybe your neighbors’ dog poops in your yard and doesn’t clean it up. Maybe they leave the porch lights on that shine into your house all night or maybe they’re just noisy. We may not always like our neighbors or what they do, but we can always pray for them.
How to Pray for Your Neighbor
Pray your neighbor will know the love of Jesus. The best way for our neighbors to know the love of Jesus is to introduce ourselves, invite them over, get to know them. Learn their names, their stories and how you can pray for them. As you’re driving or walking in the neighborhood pray for neighbors to know the love of Jesus and for opportunities to show them His love. Col. 3:12, Micah 6:8
Pray for unity in the community. Pray there will be no division in your neighborhood amongst neighbors. Pray God’s peace and love will bind you. Pray there will be love and acceptance even in differences. There is unity in community. Do something to bring your neighborhood together–host a community garage sale, organize a neighborhood clean-up, host a neighborhood chili-cookoff, do a neighborhood BBQ in a nearby park. Practice being a good neighbor, it will bring your neighborhood closer together. Ecc. 4:9, Rom. 16:17, Rom. 15:7, Col. 1:10
Ask God to help show your neighbor the love of Christ. God commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves in Mark 12:31. Pray Mark 12:30-31, together as a family to love the Lord God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. Do something kind for your neighbor–bake banana bread or a meal for them, invite them over for coffee and doughnuts, offer to watch their pet, invite them to church. No one would ever know the love of Christ if we don’t show them.
Praying for our neighbors softens and changes the attitude of our hearts to be focused on how God wants us to treat others. Even if we don’t like our neighbors, we can pray for them. We are meant to live in community with one another. Being neighborly prepares our hearts to live in the best community ever for when we go to heaven.God calls us to love those who are hard to love. If we can't love our neighbors how can we be apart of God's family? Click To Tweet
Being a good neighbor fulfills God’s greater plan, strengthens communities and destroys the enemy’s plans for division among us. We are stronger together.'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:31Click To Tweet
This summer, reach out to one neighbor, practice the art of neighboring by doing one action step and pray for them.
Do you know who your neighbors are?
How can you pray for your neighbor?
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