Sometimes we feel totally inadequate to share Christ with people. We don’t know how to start a spiritual conversation or how to communicate the gospel in a way that engages people. We are afraid we might mess things up or be totally rejected.
When you feel that inadequacy, it’s time to pray! I want to share with you three simple prayers for you to pray as a witness for Jesus.
I first noticed these three prayers in Scripture when I went through Billy Graham’s Christian Life and Witness Course. They are so simple that you can easily remember them and so powerful that they will make a big difference to your impact for Christ.
Prayer #1: “God, open a door for my witness”
This was a prayer that the Apostle Paul asked people to pray for him. In Colossians 4:2-4, he wrote, “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ … that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” (ESV)
What is a door? It’s an opportunity, an opening to share Christ with people. Maybe you hear people talk about sharing Christ with others and you think, “But I don’t get those opportunities.” Why not ask God to give you opportunities? If you make it your habit at the beginning of every day, or as you embark on a plane/bus/train/ferry/cruise, to specifically ask God to give you an opportunity to speak with someone about Jesus, you will begin to see opportunities everywhere. God loves to answer that prayer!
I remember praying together with my family that God would work out events for us to connect with our neighbours who needed Christ. As we finished praying the doorbell rang. At the door was the wife who lived next door. She had back her car into mine and wanted to exchange insurance information. That led to an invitation to dinner and a great gospel conversation with her husband.
Do you want opportunities to share Christ with people? Ask him for them.
Maybe the thought of praying for opportunities makes you nervous because you don’t know how people would respond if you talked to them about Jesus? Then it’s time for prayer #2!
Prayer #2: “God, open their hearts to the gospel”
The Apostle Paul knew that only God could open people’s hearts, so when he wrote to the Thessalonians, he said, “Finally brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honoured, as happened among you.” (2 Thess 3:1-2 ESV)
What had “happened among you”? How had the Thessalonians responded to the gospel? 1 Thess 2:13 tells us the answer: “When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” God had opened the hearts of the Thessalonians when Paul shared the gospel with them and now Paul wants them to pray that the same will happen with others he speaks with about Christ.
When God answers prayer #1 and gives you an opportunity to speak with someone for him, immediately begin praying prayer #2 in your heart while you are talking with them. Your words will never be clever enough to open someone’s heart, but God can soften their hearts.
That brings us to prayer #3.
Prayer #3: “God, open my mouth to speak boldly”
You might be thinking, “I’m just not bold enough to talk to people about God.” You can pray about that too!
Sometimes we picture the Apostle Paul as fearless in sharing the gospel. But he reminds the Corinthians that he spoke “in weakness and in fear and much trembling” when he shared Christ with them (1 Cor 2:3). And here’s the prayer request he gave to the Ephesians: He asked them to pray “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
God loves to answer prayers for boldness! In Acts 4:29-31, when the early Christians faced persecution they prayed, “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your sword with all boldness.” How did God respond to that prayer? “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Three simple prayers—“God, open doors”, “God, open their hearts”, and “God, open my mouth”. If you make these three prayers a part of your daily life, God will get involved in your daily witness for him. And when God gets involved, things start happening that are way beyond what you could do!