One of the 7 basic habits of personal evangelism can help you identify that a divine appointment is about to happen.
The habit? Look for spiritual thirst.
I have learned to recognize spiritual thirst in how people talk, what they talk about, and how they often initiate discussion with me.
Remember when Phillip encountered the Ethiopian Eunuch?
When God “underlined” the eunuch for Phillip, (with “Go stand next to THAT chariot”), Phillip obeyed and found a spiritually thirsty person. Phillip then began a conversation that lead to the eunuch coming to faith.
Our model is to encourage the same.
- Notice the person who God underlines,
- Listen for thirst
- Engage in a conversation
- Suggest a next step of spiritual growth.
One of the things that is stressed in our teaching is watching for those moments where you can plant a seed in a natural sort of conversation.
Today, I was returning a phone call to a stranger seeking to buy one of my items from craigslist.
We had spoken a few days earlier to make arrangements to pick up the item but plans fell through.
During today’s conversation, I was told that her dad had a medical emergency and that our little transaction was the
“furthest thing from her mind.”
Here was a relational context — we were already conducting a business transaction.
I wasn’t sure if this was sufficient indication of spiritual thirst. However, it did strike me as a time to offer prayer.
Therefore, I took the risk to ask.
I offered to pray with her on the phone.
“I know you don’t know anything about me. Would you like me to pray with you about your Dad?”
“I don’t do the religious thing. Thanks, but no.”
With that, the conversation came to an abrupt and awkward end.
Did I plant a seed? Don’t know.
Did I accomplish anything for the kingdom? Don’t know.
Will my question irritate like salt in a wound? Don’t know.
Did I have an evangelistic moment? Don’t know. It had potential.
Can God do something with it? You bet.
When I offer to pray with people in response to something they have shared with me, usually they accept and I get to pray.
I trust the Spirit of God to show me how to pray and sometimes, the direction of prayer goes straight to the heart.
It often leads to further conversation, and sometimes I’m asked “How did you know to pray for that?” (word of knowledge, perhaps?)
Sometimes, I get to follow up with people and see how things turned out, and have the chance to ask the question:
- “Do you think our praying had anything to do with that?”
- “Could God have answered your prayer?”
That leads to further opportunities and so on.
I’ve learned to take the risk and offer to pray with people when they make small talk about some crisis the story of the life.
Strangers, friends, business partners — doesn’t matter.
I take the risk and ask “Can I pray with you now?”
It may be one piece (of many) that God will use to bring people to Himself and show Himself at work.
You may not know how a person will respond, or where it will go, but the point is, take the risk.
Let me ask you this?
When did you last interrupt your busy day to offer and pray with a person who casually shared a crisis in the story of their life during small talk?