Doug’s relational approach to evangelism regularly opens up important conversations. But today, the conversation was interrupted by the phone …
The shop was empty that afternoon and I had gone in to stock up on dates. The dates sold there are always good and reasonably priced and, besides that, the shopkeeper has become a friend. We can talk together about faith and share the thing that is most important to both of us. As I paid for the dates, we got talking and the conversation turned to prayer. How do we pray? What is important when we pray?
My friend is a Muslim and explained the importance of praying regularly, using the set pattern as demonstrated by the Prophet. God has told us to pray certain phrases in a set language, and we must pray that way or our prayers will not be accepted and we will not gain good deeds to our credit.
In response, I talked about the joy and privilege of praying at all times, in my own language, about any topic, with an assurance of being heard. I could see that I wasn’t making sense when our conversation was interrupted by a phone call. “Oh God,” I prayed under my breath. “Why do phone calls always come at the most inconvenient moments?”
“That’s what prayer is like. God loves to hear us at any time and feels happy when we talk to him. Even if it’s not all correct and arranged.”
After listening for a short while, my friend put the phone down apologetically and we continued talking about prayer. Suddenly, the phone rang again. My friend answered it and I could hear funny sounds coming from the other end. The phone conversation didn’t make sense and I didn’t understand the language. When my friend put the phone down, he explained that it was his three year-old son, who was playing with the phone at home and pressed the button that got through to his dad.
“Ah,” I said, recognising that this was a call arranged by God. “How did you feel when your son talked to you on the phone?”
“I like hearing him and felt happy” was the reply.
“Had you arranged the call?” I asked. “Was it at the right time? And did your son say important things?”
My friend looked at me questioningly. “No,” he said. “He was only playing.”
“That’s what prayer is like,” I explained. “God loves to hear us at any time and feels happy when we talk to him. Even if it’s not all correct and arranged.”
My friend’s response caught me off guard. “But if my son phoned when I was in an important meeting, I wouldn’t be pleased. Either I wouldn’t answer the phone or I would tell him off.”
I left the shop thanking God for the phone call and the insight into prayer it had provided. I also prayed that my friend’s view of God and his understanding of prayer would change.
Find out more about our Neighbours Worldwide ministry
The world is on your doorstep! In Britain and Ireland there is a thriving and growing population of people from areas of the world where the gospel is not easily heard. Although living here, most of these families still have no real knowledge of Christ or contact with the christian church. Neighbours Worldwide aims to reach unreached ethnic groups in the UK and Ireland. Working alongside existing churches, Neighbours Worldwide workers teach English, lead Bible studies, visit families, give out Christian literature and do all they can to share the gospel in a relevant way.
We need you to get involved
If you want to build relationships with ethnic groups in your community email us.