Talking to God About People

Talking to God About People April 8, 2013

Whatwould our days, our prayers, our relationships be like if we organized ourlives around this truth: “People without Jesus Christ go to hell”? Different,no doubt. In what ways, only you know.

Evangelismhas been on my mind for well over a year—both my own efforts to share thegospel and our church’s. I pray about it almost compulsively. I’ve talked withthe other elders about it. I’ve adjusted my life in some key areas to createopportunities for it. I’ve even mentioned it in sermons and in these weeklycolumns. It’s become the constant prayer request I name when people ask me howthey can pray for me and/or our church.

That’swhy I’m especially gratified to read Paul’s prayer request in Colossians 4:3-4:“Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we mayproclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I mayproclaim it clearly, as I should.” Isn’t it interesting that the greatevangelist himself, the Apostle Paul, asked his friends to pray for him in hisevangelism? He had been ridiculed for Jesus, kicked out of cities for Jesus,even stoned for Jesus. Yet he still asked his friends to pray for him to be theright kind of witness for Jesus.

There’san important truth implied in Paul’s request: evangelism does not begin in thepresence of lost people. It begins in the presence of God. It begins with ourprayers. If we’re at all burdened about the people we know who don’t knowJesus, we’re going to have to carve out the time to meet with God and pleadwith Him for these kids, neighbors, and coworkers. And if we don’t have thatburden or don’t know anyone without Jesus, we should still pray but perhapswith a slightly different focus. Ask God to burden your heart, to give youopportunities, or to help you rearrange your schedule if necessary so you canbe in contact with non-Christian people.

Butthis can be a scary prayer to pray. What if God actually answers it? It’s alittle intimidating to think about actually getting a chance to talk aboutJesus! What if we get scared? What if we mess it up? What if we’ve alreadyfailed so many times, we’d rather not try again? Stay tuned…