I’ve had some interesting emails lately regarding the topic of how to share your faith in a world that is fairly hostile to Christianity. There was a time when most people in North America had a Judeo/Christian background. As a result there was a starting point for discussion. A person who wasn’t a follower of Christ understood that they were rejecting the claims of the Bible and were living outside the norms of society. They could go to a Billy Graham crusade have their heart touched by the gospel, and respond by coming down to the front of the arena to receive Christ as their Savior.
Things have changed and the result is that many people don’ have a connection to Christianity or its trappings and traditions. It is hard to have spiritual conversations with our children and co-workers who may not only come from a different tradition, but may not believe in God at all. The result is that it becomes easy to be discouraged and give up in our efforts to share the gospel. I am surprised at how many mothers feel they don’t have the witness that they wish for, because they look after children. There is no greater ministry in the world than raising children to know God, trust God and walk with God throughout their lives. I have often mentioned on this blog about how my own mother prayed for us and over time her prayers were heard.
Here is what I learned about prayer from my mother:
1. She was sincere. My mother didn’t pray for us because it was something she was supposed to do; she prayed for us because she wanted to. My mother’s greatest desire in life was to see us in the Kingdom of Heaven and she was going to pray because we were important to her.
2. She was consistent. Many of us start out praying for people with good intentions, but over time we lose interest or become forgetful and we stop praying. My mother prayed every morning and every night for our salvation, our health and our success. Even after we became Christians she didn’t stop praying because she knew how easy it is to drift away from God.
3. She believed God would answer. I once asked her why she prayed all the time for us when we weren’t the least bit interested in God, and she answered that He would lead us all to Him in time.
4. She was faithful. No matter what went on in life she showed us love and compassion. We knew she loved us unconditionally and as a result it was easy for us to understand that God could love us unconditionally because we saw that modeled in our mother’s actions and words towards us.
5. She was longsuffering and patient. She must have wondered at times if she wasn’t doing more harm praying than not praying. We would seem to drift a long ways away from God, but she continued to pray and eventually we committed our lives to God.
6. She left us an example. We are praying people because my mother showed us through her prayer life that God is all-powerful and loves us and longs to save us. It is not always easy to remember our prayers, but when I remember mom praying, no matter how late at night, how can I do any less?
We can’t all be missionaries working away in some foreign nation, and we can’t all be Apologists with the latest scientific information debating Agnostics and Atheists. But we can all be serious about our families and pray for them. The most powerful witness the Christian has is his/her ability to pray and be guided by the Holy Spirit through prayer in how to relate to those we love. Sometimes a word spoken at the right time is all it takes to bring conviction to a family member and other times it is best to say nothing.
Whatever your situation, please don’t ever be discouraged because you aren’t some big time evangelist preaching to thousands of people. The little Bible study group I attend has a mission statement; “to provide a safe environment, where we can grow closer to God one heart at a time.”
If in your entire life you only see one heart changed for the better then you have had a successful ministry. In fact if you have prayed all your life and no one has responded you have still had a successful life for God because you have had a life of prayer and connection to Him. Also, for many of us, we will not know the influence of our witness until we get to Heaven. Only then will that kind word spoken in line in the grocery store or that prayer for a neighbor’s health become known and the impact your words and prayers had on them. Galatians 6: 9 reminds us, “And let us not grow weary in well-doing for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” This verse should be placed on a magnet and put on every refrigerator door so we never lose sigh of that wonderful promise.