Last week I issued a serious challenge. Ask three people [preferably total strangers] this question, “How can I pray for you?” For me, it was an amazing adventure. The first person I asked was a worker at Krispy Kreme. She responded she was having some emotional issues and almost began to cry. The second person, a Target employee, gave me her prayer requests. One of her requests was regarding her little girl. She pulled out her cell phone and showed me a picture of her daughter! The third was at the McDonald’s drive through. I asked her the question and she began sharing her struggles to work, raise a daughter, and go to school. My wife was with me on this encounter and was taken back at the girl’s response. This is what I have learned from the challenge. First of all, people want to be prayed for. No one rejected my offer. Now, someone will down the road, but that will not be the common response. Secondly, when you ask to pray for them, people begin to open up and share their life with you. They need to know someone cares for them. They want others to listen. I was reminded that workers I came across, at McDonalds, etc, are real people too. They need people to reach out and love them. Thirdly, this is a great way to share the Gospel with people. Each person let their guard down and shared with me. That is a great opportunity to tell them why you are praying for them and how God has changed your life. I am going to strive to do this on a more regular basis, whether I am at a drive-through, at Wal-Mart, or at the doctor’s office, for instance. People need Jesus. Show them you care for them by asking this simple question, “How can I pray for you?”
I want to issue a serious challenge. This week ask three people, “How can I pray for you?” Don’t ask your spouse or children, though it is important to pray for them. Instead, ask three total strangers or three people you know are lost and/or unchurched. This type of question shows people you truly care about them and it may open doors to share the Gospel. When you see someone pumping gas, at Wal-Mart, or in your neighborhood, say “I am going to have a time of prayer in a little while. How can I pray for you?” This exercise will also help you look beyond yourself and make you more comfortable talking with others about God and the things of God. This time next week I am going to write about my three encounters. I hope you will take this challenge by seeking out and praying for three people as well.
You can thrive amongst the thorns. Behind my yard there is some brush and overgrowth. It used to be filled with timber, but it was recently cut down. Now all that remains is poison ivy, weeds, and thorns. In the midst of the overgrowth pink flowers have emerged. The flowers are a beautiful sight. In the midst of such a horrific environment of brush, poison ivy, and thorns, God has given life to these flowers. You may be in the midst of a few thorns. People may be harassing you. Work may stink. Life in general has you down. Even in the midst of thorns, God has allowed these flowers to thrive. Even amongst the thorns of your life, God will allow you to thrive. Trust Him no matter what.