Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Prayer and Evangelism: The Secret to Winning the Skeptic's Heart

In the last few posts we have been discussing how to use logic in our efforts to evangelize the next generation. Using logic as an evangelism tool can be delicate work because words can be twisted out of context and made to prove points that clearly are not accurate. However, if we hope to reach young people with the gospel, we must learn to use some level of logic in our eorts.

This is important because many honest skeptics are sincerely looking for truth. We should seek to answer their questions not only with Scripture but also with logical conclusions based on evidence God has clearly built into the universe He designed.

We can also expect to encounter dishonest skeptics who just want to argue. Dishonest skeptics are a greater challenge because, despite their claims to be open-minded, they are not actually interested in learning from other perspectives. Christians must be careful not to their waste precious time and energy arguing and debating with those who are not interested in hearing the truth. Instead, Christians should focus on those who are actually looking for truth. Christians should help honest seekers discover the logical path toward God. 

Though that path will require faith, it does not require blind faith. Christians must remember John 6:44, which teaches, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (HCSB). When the Spirit begins to draw people to Christ, those people begin to see God in various ways because God will reveal Himself along the way. A realization of God’s presence stirs up faith in them, which allows them to look more earnestly for God. The result is that when they finally come to faith, it seems like the most logical conclusion they could possibly make.

Christians who want to witness eectively to young people will trust more in the Spirit and less in their own debating skills. That does not mean Christians should not be able to defend the faith. It simply means that once we have shown people the truth, we must step back and give those people time to process what we have shown them and give the Spirit time to work in their lives.

We must not allow our human tendency to get angry with those who disagree with us to emerge. Arguing from anger never produces positive results. While we wait for young adults to process what we have shared with them, we must engage in earnest prayer for them. James 5:16 reminds us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and eective” (NIV). We should never underestimate the power of prayer. In our evangelism eorts, it is a tool that that can soften the hardest heart. If Christians spent more time in prayer for their non-Christian skeptical friends, we would find that the Spirit would empower us with the right words to say and the wisdom to know when to say them. Let us commit ourselves to more fervent prayer.

Adapted from Dr. Dorsett’s book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, published by CrossBooks, a division of Lifeway Christian Resources.

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