Does prayer change things? Prayer absolutely changes things; mainly prayer changes you. I would like to share with you about prayer; specifically regarding praying about sharing the gospel. Several encounters come to mind but below I would like to share with you the most recent encounter I have had, directly after praying for the awareness of gospel opportunities as well as boldness to seize those opportunities. Hopefully, you will be challenged and encouraged to begin praying about sharing the gospel.
The week before Christmas we flew out of the Lawton airport. As I packed up that morning I made sure to grab some of the Two Ways To Live tracts that we have available at the church. I said a quick prayer: “Lord, place someone who needs the gospel in my path and give me the boldness to be obedient.” That's it. Short and Simple.
Later that morning, after we checked our bags and passed security, we all sat down in the terminal and were anxious to begin our vacation. Drake and I were probably chatting away about football or our duck hunting exploits when an Indian man (from India, not Native American) walked up to me and said, “Hello Sir, your boy is very smart. He did extremely well at the academic team meet a few weeks ago.” His son was on the team from Eisenhower and Drake is the Captain of Cache’s team. He went on about how many questions Drake answered and complemented Cache beating the undefeated Eisenhower team. By his accent I knew he was actually from India and not simply Indian by decent. In the news the week prior, India’s President made the unprecedented move of banning the nation’s most popular currency in an attempt to crack down on the black market. I figured this could be my way in to extend the conversation. So I asked him about it. He bit. (By nature I like to be left alone and read or listen to music when waiting, so we can chalk this up to prayer changing me.)
Now I am fully invested in turning this conversation to the gospel. I just need to find that way in, that chink in the armor that all people keep up, not wanting to talk to total strangers about matters of religion. But the Lord provides. This man gave me a quick overview of where he lived in India, including food (which he says is really hot) and religion, which he says has a very large Christian population. There it is… My in. “So are you a Christian or Hindu?” “I am a Hindu.” he says. So now I want to know more, so I ask a few more questions. “Are you able to worship in Lawton?” He says: “No, I go to temple about once a month in Oklahoma City.” So now the turn.
I want to be respectful, but I really want to back the man into the corner where he cannot get out or change the topic, so I ask one more crucial question. The man, who's name I cannot pronounce or even try and spell, is a local doctor, so I know he must be a smart and logical man. I also know that Hindus worship millions of gods and hold to an origin story that is illogical, as it contains no one, all-powerful first cause. So I ask him like this: “Sir, respectfully what I have always thought was very strange about Hindus is that you have no all-powerful first cause. You have no God above the millions of other gods.” He then says: “Well I am not a very good Hindu. I believe in an all-powerful God who created all things.” I then say: “So you are really just culturally Hindu? Your beliefs don’t correspond to the main teachings?” He says: “Yea I guess so. I am just culturally Hindu.” Now is the time to seize the moment and give him the gospel.
I then say: “You know this is what is called the Bible belt – most people who call themselves Christians here are only cultural Christians. They have no idea what the Bible teaches and are most definitely not following Jesus. I am a Christian – would you mind if I share with you what Christianity really is and about Jesus?” He says, “Absolutely.”
I get out my Two Ways To Live tract and share the gospel with him in about 5 minutes. I urge him to not delay in repenting and believing in Christ. The plane boards and I never see him again. I don’t know if he has been regenerated or not. All I know is, I prayed, and God threw me another hanging curveball.
Please be encouraged that you can share the gospel this way too. Please be praying not simply for opportunities to share, but for discernment of the opportunities God has placed around you. God providentially organized my meeting with this doctor from India long before I ever met him. The man chose to practice medicine here and not somewhere else. He attended the academic team meet where he saw Drake and was impressed with his mind. We happened to be flying the same morning. What did my prayer do to this course of events? Nothing at all – my prayer changed me and prepared me for obedience. When a curveball is hanging, it’s time to swing for the fences.