Start with Prayer
It happens every so often that Christians in prison share a cell with someone who is not a Christian. Their cellmate may believe in a god who is not the Triune God, he may be someone who is an outspoken agnostic or atheist.
When I met with Joe recently, he told me that he had a new cellmate. Joe also told me that his cellmate was pagan and that he believed in the gods of ancient Scandinavia. I quickly shifted into pastor mode and asked Joe, “So, what do you do first when you want to share the Gospel with someone who is not a Christian?” I assumed that Joe probably needed a brief refresher on evangelism and was ready to guide him through that “refresher.”
But Joe was the one who gave me a “refresher” on Evangelism. He told me, “Well, first I pray. I know that I can’t make anyone a believer in Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. So, first, I pray.”
I am sure that I smiled when Joe answered my question. And my smile only grew as we spent the remainder of our time talking about sharing Jesus with others. But I wasn’t smiling because Joe had all the right answers — as if sharing Jesus with someone is some kind of a test. Rather, I was smiling in thankfulness for the Holy Spirit’s work in Joe’s mind and heart and soul. And mine, too.
Last week, Joe was transferred to a different prison, one at which I do not serve. I may not see Joe again in this life, but by the grace of God, I look forward to seeing him in heaven.
Chaplain Charles Iles