Sometimes, emergencies and crises present witness and ministry opportunities that might not exist in normal circumstances. Many people tend to be more open to spiritual matters during troubling times. At a medical center, I asked a man if there was anything I could pray with him about. It turned out that his wife was in surgery, and he was very receptive and appreciative of my offer. Almost no one is opposed to being prayed for. Prayer is a common theme in all religious traditions and a great way to connect for spiritual conversations.
The Power of Showing of Appreciation
A grocery store employee was surprised and encouraged when I complimented her on the good job she was doing. I simply told her how much we appreciated the way they arranged the products on the shelves. That simple gesture opened up a brief conversation about the Lord. The lady had recently moved to Houston from Detroit. I asked her how she would describe the difference in the spiritual climate in the two cities. That created a connection and a new relationship. It is encouraging how one new friend can open up a whole new relational network for kingdom impact.
My wife and I often do prayer walking in a nearby shopping mall. Of course, it’s more than prayer, and more than walking. We are observing people and watching for points of connection. It’s often a comment, a question or a compliment that results in making new friends and experiencing ministry opportunities. Many times people are more receptive than we might imagine. During times of crises, emergencies or difficulties, people are even more open to receive prayer and words of encouragement.
Minister of Reconciliation
As we go about our normal activities and in our routine traffic patterns, in a spirit of prayer and availability, we can fully expect God to work in those encounters. Not everyone will be receptive, but if we are consistent, we will be fruitful witnesses and effective ministers of reconciliation. Realizing, that as followers of Jesus, we are all on mission with God. A market place, a shopping mall or a medical center are all places where we can be salt and light, and demonstrate the love of Jesus.
Divine Appointments Everywhere
Actually, any place where we connect with people can become divine appointments. Some of those connections turn out to be discipling opportunities or long term relationships. Many of my network of friends began with those kinds of encounters. In fact, we recently had dinner with a couple that I initially met when I approached one of them with the intention of sharing the gospel. I like to think of myself as a Good News reporter. In fact, I have often opened conversations by simply asking someone, “Would you like to hear some good news?” It’s something anyone can do.
Troubling Times, and Spiritual Opportunities
With all that is going on in the world these days, we can be assured that many are thinking more about their need for the Lord. A good number of church and mission leaders, and observers of trends are seeing signs of spiritual awakening. Certainly, more people are praying for revival and a spiritual awakening now than ever before. Now is the time for us to press on, trusting for God’s increased redemptive activity and increasing our usefulness in His Kingdom work.