Prayer is a privilege the Lord gives us to communicate with him. It’s an opportunity to remind ourselves that God is God and we are not. A time of reflection on the goodness and grace of God allows us to remember that we are the receiver of blessings and gifts, not the producer. This is especially true in sharing our faith in Christ with others.
Too often, especially when we are sharing Christ with friends and loved ones, frustration, impatience and anger seeps into our language and demeanor. Instead of building a bridge of trust, our sinful nature can produce stumbling blocks. Prayer helps us to remember that Christ is in charge. He will provide the fruits of patience, persistence, and gentleness we ask for and need in our witnessing. Many people are sensitive about their faith, or especially the lack thereof, and will feel attacked when the subject is brought up. Except for the stubborn-hearted, pangs of guilt breeds defensiveness. However, love can win out and provide opportunities to share the gospel message.
I helped in leading a mission trip to Provo, Utah last summer. Many opportunities were presented to plant the seed of God’s Word to those who professed Christ, but really didn’t understand who Christ really is and why. The vast majority of people in Provo are members of the Mormon faith. They also can be quite defensive if they feel attacked. To combat this natural response, we found that offering to pray for them made a huge impression. In fact, they were caught off-guard by the offer and their hearts noticeably softened.
Those familiar with Mormonism know that personal and family prayer is important to them and widely practiced. However, we were surprised to discover that bringing personal prayer requests during corporate worship is not part of their practice. The culture of Mormonism tells people to always keep a smile on their face in public no matter what problems they may be facing. Mormonism teaches that trials in life are opportunities to eternally progress and can be overcome by being obedient to the commands and ordinances of the LDS Church. To be prayed for could give a connotation of not being worthy which is a very important component in Mormonism, because personal worthiness is necessary in order for a person to receive all the blessings God has in store for them.
Never underestimate the value of prayer when sharing your faith. When approaching a person with love and concern, you can offer the gift of prayer. At the same time, prayer is empowering. It’s a way to remind us that when we are at our weakest, God is at his strongest. Those who find their strength in Christ can then be strong for Christ. Your offer to exhibit the love of Christ through prayer can provide opportunities to share the love of Christ through the message of the gospel.