Several years ago I was challenged by an article in the Christian Herald. An evangelist told how, if he would pray and ask God to give him a meaningful conversation, that God would always answer.
Could God do that for me? Preach? Yes, or tell a story to the children? I could do that, but to evangelise to strangers?
I dared to pray, and the Lord did answer. He opened the door wide for me to speak to my chiropodist, but - I did not take the opportunity. I came home so sad and discouraged. I prayed as I have done so many times before – ‘Lord, now I have proved that alone, I cannot do it. Please do it through me.’Amazingly I needed to return to the chiropodist. On my first visit he had been on the phone and, apologising, had explained that he had been making money by buying old properties and having them done up. This time I told him how I had felt God had wanted me to share with him the story Jesus told, of the farmer who was going to build bigger barns, and how God was giving me a second opportunity to tell him. Graciously he received this word and I came home on cloud nine.
I recently shared this story with my home group, for we ladies had been convicted by our study of the thief on the cross who, having assurance of Paradise, was concerned for his fellow convict.
Yes, I shared my story, but not to my advantage, for I had to confess that I had never again prayed that prayer. But now, after our Fresh Ground study we were all being convicted.
But then I began to make excuses. I don’t get out and about these days as an evangelist might, I reasoned. But I do go to my Keep Fit class on a Friday, where tea and a chat is part of the therapy, and the next week I was off on a five day coach holiday. So yes, I dared to pray, and my house group agreed to pray with me.
Coming home from ‘Dance to Health’ I thought there had been no special answer to my prayer, until the Lord reminded me of how I had been greeting my little disabled friend and we were filled with joy as I reminded her that Jesus loved us. And then the leader who was giving me a lift home had suddenly exclaimed, ‘Where did that come from?’ for the sun had burst through the gloom. I was quick to tell her.
No, we had not sat down together over a bible verse, but Jesus had been there, and I had got in the first Gospel point. God is good. He loves you.
I can’t tell you of special opportunities on our trip to the Norfolk Broads, but I know I was very conscious of Jesus speaking through me. I felt like someone who had been given rose petals to scatter at a wedding.
I don’t remember what it was I had said to the lovely assistant in Debenhams as I paid for my little bag, but I was so thrilled by her response. It was to the effect that she was a believer but somehow she had wandered away from the Lord but now she was back on track. Somehow a door had been opened for Jesus and he had come, his arms around us.
In Yarmouth a bitter wind had driven us from the sea to find a coffee and then wander around the shops. I started to chat to the lady selling clothes. I had not mentioned Jesus, but he had been there all the same, for something I had said about memories seemed to have touched her heart and I felt that meeting too had been meant.
Oh yes, and then there was the man who had gate crashed our private coach on the steam train. He happily regaled us with all his travels and so he could not refuse to hear our testimonies, one of us with our world-wide travels and the other of a contented wife and mother, married young and never having moved house, but he could not fail to find Jesus in both our stories.
I trust that I won’t let the years pass before I ask the Lord again for meaningful conversations, because we have a wonderful Saviour God who delights to answer our prayers, and to use people, even such as us to carry his royal invitations.