“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Pray for the lost by name
Ask the Spirit to bring to mind people who are far from God, people who do not know his love for them. As faces and names come to mind, pray for them. Ask God, as their Good Shepherd, to go after these lost ones, to restore them to his fold, and to bring them salvation.
Pray for compassion
Ask God to give you the Good Shepherd’s heart—seeing as he sees and loving as he loves. Confess anything that’s getting in the way of compassion for the lost today. Ask God to soften the hard places in your heart, making it like his.
Pray to be sent
Finally, invite God to send you. As you have asked God to pursue your loved ones, now ask him to send you out with his empowering presence to the lost around you. Invite him to open your eyes and ears, that you might pursue the lost and pray for their salvation in the way our Good Shepherd does. Ask that he would inspire your imagination with ways to love, bring people to mind you don’t expect, and surprise you with invitations to be his hands and feet.
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
*What is a collect?
A collect conveys a gathering of our hearts of minds—a recollection of the self—and a gathering of God’s people in united prayer. And it follows a pattern, first with a statement of some attribute or action of God that reveals who he is, then with a related request based on his character and appropriate to the day/season of the church calendar. There are also collects written for certain themes or occasions.