By David Lyons
I had to admit it. During a day alone with God, I had to confess that I had not shared my faith with someone for a long time. Too long. I had to admit that I had wimped out on some good opportunities.
So, I began praying that God would lead me to a spiritual conversation with someone every week—a conversation that would give me an opportunity to pray with a person. I prayed daily for each of our neighbors and for strangers that I hadn’t yet met. Soon I saw God opening doors for the Word!
However, before long, I again began to hesitate due to self-protective worry. God kept prodding me. A while ago, I met with a fellow worker who is still grieving over the brutal murder of one of her teammates. A religious radical had killed her colleague for sharing Christ. She quietly said to me, “It took us a while to get our courage back.” But I could see that courage, joy and power was again flowing in and through her and her team. These warriors inspired me to overcome my little anxieties.
Not long after, I met with other Navigators who face the daily threat of arrest and imprisonment. They asked me to pray that God would help them be strong and courageous, which I am eagerly doing.
Being around them and praying for them has increased my courage. They have prompted me to ask God for help with sharing His Word. That’s what Paul asked his friends to pray in Colossians 4:3–4.
God answered my prayer and opened doors for me, but in those moments, I still froze up. For example, I encountered a gay waiter who opened his heart, but I hesitated. Then I faltered while talking to a technical assistance employee at a large store who shared about her tattoo. After both of those opportunities, I thought of brilliant spiritual things to say. But it was too late.
So, I began praying again, this time based on Ephesians 6:19–20. Paul wrote, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. . . . Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
Finally, the Lord of the harvest gave me a shove, literally. I was sitting at a stoplight while driving friends to the airport in the middle of a snowstorm. Wham! A car slid into us from behind. Out jumped a young man with dreadlocks, swearing at himself. I smiled, shook his hand, and invited him to get out of the cold and sit in my car while we exchanged information. I was able to comfort him, pray for him, and give him an “engager” called “What Just Happened?” (You can find this resource by clicking here and also see the video at this link.)
As we drove away, I started laughing. God had answered my prayer through a rear-end collision! How kind of Him? Yes, how kind. Since that accident, God has opened the door to ongoing conversations about faith and grace with the driver.
I feel like I’m unstuck. But I’m still praying Paul’s prayers in Colossians 4 and Ephesians 6 for myself and for other Navigator disciples and disciple-makers around the world. I’m praying because this will never come naturally for me. I need supernatural help. Don’t you?
David is an International Vice President of The Navigators. He serves our 5,000 staff in more than 100 countries by coaching leaders and leading change. David is author of Don’t Waste the Pain.