I know, when you see the word Oikos you think Greek yogurt. I get it, I buy that brand too. But an Oikos Prayer List doesn’t have anything much to do with yogurt. It is the ‘Greek’ part that relates to this prayer list.
You see the word ‘oikos’ is Greek for ‘house’. But the focus isn’t restricted just to the building, the word also refers to people that live there. We might use the word ‘household’. Let me show you the word in use.
Jesus has just delivered a man from unclean spirits. The man wants to go with Jesus and his disciples. Jesus declines. Instead, he says:
“Go home (oikos) to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mk 5:19)
Jesus was instructing the man to return to his household, to the people that he knows, to his network of relationships and before them and for them live out his new life. Sometimes when we think of Jesus’ command to “Love our neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12:31) we think Jesus has in mind strangers in need. He does, but not in place of loving those we regularly have contact with. Loving our neighbour is a ‘both-and’.
An Oikos Prayer List is a short list of people that you regularly interact with. They might be in your family, workmates, classmates, or people you buy from. Make sure it contains both believers and non-believers. They are on your list because you are going to love them, first by praying for them. Use Jesus’ model prayer (Mat 6:9-13) as a kickstarter. Pray that God would provide their material needs, pray for their interpersonal relationships and pray that God would deliver them from evil and harm. Don’t stop there. Pray that God would show you how you can be an agent of his love to them.
Loving another doesn’t have to wait until a crisis. Share the mercy and kindness you have received from God through little acts of kindness and generosity. What might that look like? Share your ideas in the comments!
Photo: By Mike Mozart