Gospel Life Today
“If you DECLARE the gospel and don’t LIVE IT – you will confuse people.
If you LIVE the gospel and don’t DECLARE IT – you will condemn people.”
— Steve Wilson
Who Am I Praying To?
It was a joy traveling to the land of my youth [Pennsylvania] and attending my high school reunion two weeks ago. Ok I’ll tell you…Class of 1975. Two weeks prior, one of my classmates who “hosted” the event asked me in a Face Book Message, “Would you be willing to give a brief non-denominational blessing before we eat at the reunion?” I was happy to say yes and for the next two weeks, knowing there would be over 200 people there, I thought a lot about what I would say before praying.
I thought about the months leading up to this and the many posts on Face Book about the reunion. There was quite a “buzz” beginning to stir among those planning to attend. Some were writing about many interesting things; at times revealing a very distorted worldview and in many cases an utter ignorance of who God is. I also remember reading that over 30 classmates had died since graduation which averages out to one a year since then. I thought about the very real possibility that some who would be at this reunion would not be at the next one. I saw this as an opportunity for them to hear from one of their own, one whom they seldom heard from in school, about the One who had since then, changed his life forever and wanted the same for them.
My plan was simple. I wanted my classmates to know that a request to pray meant something. These weren’t just words being spoken to appease some formality. I was going to pray to someone; the one true and living God who has revealed Himself in the only source of truth, His Word, the Bible. I also wanted them to know the only way to know Him was through Jesus Christ; and then to encourage any of them to come talk to me during the evening if they wanted to know more. Those were my intentions. However, that is not what happened.
Upon arrival and check-in the hostess greeted Carolyn and I and confirmed that I would offer the blessing. I confirmed and then asked if it would be alright to make a few comments before prayer and it would be less than 10 minutes. She told me I had 30 seconds! So what I had to say was left unsaid. My immediate thought was I should not have asked “permission.” I especially thought this after it was all over and saw that nothing would have been lost on the entire evening even if I had taken 15 minutes. I have to trust that God’s providence didn’t allow it.
Then…nine days later I was asked to give the invocation to open Warren County Fiscal Court for the day. The judge told me to, “say whatever is on your heart.” And so it was a privilege to tell those present and watching on television that the wisdom they needed only comes from God and the only way to know Him was through Jesus Christ, His Son.
I say all this because as we live the gospel from day to day sometimes we are asked to pray. Many of those requests come from unbelievers. They need to know we have confidence that we pray to a God who really does hear and answer prayer…
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16)
…and that confidence comes because “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God…” (Heb 4:14)
But you have to know the High Priest because there are not many roads to heaven…only one.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
Even something as simple as a prayer request can be a wonderful time to declare the gospel.