Showing Your Relationship
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I was a speaker for a youth camp, and I'd been pouring out my heart to those teenagers in service after service. At the end of the week some kids came up to me and said, "Do you know what really affected us the most this week?" I was waiting to hear which message, which illustration, or which challenge had impacted them. It wasn't any of those things. These teenagers said, "You know, Ron, we've been watching you with your wife this week. We've seen how you treat her, how you put your arm around her, and how you talk to her. And that's what's really impressed us."
My wife and I weren't trying to impress those teenagers. We were just having our relationship in front of them, and it touched their hearts. There's something powerful about showing people your relationship, especially when it comes to life's most important relationship - your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The relationship the lost people in your world desperately need. Their lives - their eternities - depend on it.
In Acts 16:25 and following, our word for today from the Word of God, we have a clear example of how showing your Jesus-relationship can make people want that relationship. After Paul and Silas have been beaten and imprisoned for their Christian witness it says, "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them." Later, when crisis hits in the form of a violent earthquake, the Bible says, "The jailer rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.'" He heard them praying; he heard them praising - just having their relationship with Jesus in front of him, and he knew where to look when the crunch came.
Over the years, I have seen unbelievers touched by a promise that believers almost always take for granted, "I'll pray for you." If you are working on meaningful relationships with lost people around you, and how are you ever going to reach them if you're not, then you're going to know when they are struggling. They may very well share with you their concern over a family member, a health issue, a crisis, a hurt they're experiencing, or a financial need. Then it's time for you to promise that you will talk to God about it.
And when you're alone with them, you can actually ask them if they mind if you start talking to God about it while you're still with them. It's simply a matter of gently asking, "Would you mind if I prayed about it right here, while we're still together?" I've asked on a number of occasions if I could pray with someone who did not have a relationship with Christ. No one has ever told me no. In fact, it's not uncommon to open my eyes at the end of the prayer and see tears in their eyes.
That person you're praying with has probably never heard their name mentioned in prayer in their entire life. And when you are talking to God in their presence, you have actually let that person hear you having your personal relationship with God. God may even give you a green light then to tell what it means to you to be able to go to God like this, and how there used to be a wall between you and God where you couldn't be close and personal with Him and how that wall came down because of what Jesus did for you.
In hurting times, lost people are generally far more ready to be prayed for than we are ready to pray for them. Your offer to pray with them is actually a nothing-to-lose deal, even if the individual turns you down. Either way, you've shown them that you care. And either way, you've demonstrated your personal love relationship with your God - the relationship you so want your friend or loved one to share.
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