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I’ve used one question for years. In restaurants. Gas stations. Walmart. Target. Movie theaters. Amusement parks. Zoos. Motorcycle shops. Shooting ranges.

I’ve seen one question open hearts to hear the gospel – over and over. Six words – 17 letters in English. 18 in Spanish. I’ve seen people suddenly begin to weep and their resistance fall.

The question is, “How can I pray for you?”

The fact is – most people never, ever, have anyone pray personally for them. No one ever mentions their name in prayer.

It feels like love to hear this. And only God knows where it may lead.

It is so simple.

No training needed.

You can start today.




  1. This posting made me smile. A reminder that sharing Jesus Christ is easy, simple and should never be viewed as complicated or scary. Don’t be intimidated or TOO BUSY to say, “How can I pray for you?”

    Please read my posting: ‘George and Charlie’

  2. That’s a nice gesture, and it really seems like you have a heart for others.

    But it’s not evangelism unless you also follow it up right away with communicating the gospel. Evangelism is telling people about Christ. Many want to redefine evangelism to mean something nonverbal, nongospel, and silent, but the Bible really provides no support for such approaches. How can someone believe in Christ without learning the facts about him?

    • The gospel is the story of Jesus – who he is, what he did – his death, burial, resurrection – as spelled out in 1 Cor 15. It has a specific content. You are right in saying that evangelism is telling people about Jesus. I would also argue that evangelism is demonstrated as well as proclaimed – the proclamation must be there, but the caring dimension must also be present.

      I have personally shared the gospel with dozens – yes, dozens of people after asking how I might pray for them. That single question opened their heart to hear the gospel.

      The question is not the gospel. The question sets people up for the gospel.

      Thanks so much for writing and clarifying. Your comments were helpful.

      • I agree that evangelism is demonstrated as well as proclaimed. I never said anything against that. My point was that evangelism is always verbal. Someone could come to Christ apart from witnessing my pious Christian life (there are Muslims who live pious lives, too); but someone could definitely not come to Christ apart from hearing the gospel proclaimed. Revelation is the heart of evangelism. Without it, you don’t have evangelism any more. What so many in the church nowadays do is place so much emphasis on relationship and pre-evangelistic caring that revelation is pushed into the background. How tragic, since it is through the very “word of truth” that people are born again (James 1:18).

        Also, svshaw, you wrote: “the caring dimension must also be present.” Consider this: Sharing the gospel with someone is caring for them in the most loving way possible because it is providing them what they most need.

        You said, “That single question opened their heart to hear the gospel.” I’m not sure what you mean by “opened their heart,” but you seem to be saying that your question made them more spiritually receptive to the gospel. If so, that is not true. It might pave the way for a conversation, but it won’t make them any more open to the gospel itself because only the Holy Spirit can overcome man’s enmity toward God. That happens when a person is born again. There is hearing, and there is hearing. Jesus spoke of those who have ears to hear. They won’t truly hear the gospel in saving faith unless God opens their ears. A mere question on our part cannot do that. Man’s depravity is too strong for our human efforts to overcome.

  3. Jeremy, my name is Sam.

    As I see it, we are saying the same thing.

    Only the Spirit of God, using the Word, can give faith, open the heart (as in the case of Lydia), create the new birth, regenerate the dead human spirit, and grant repentance and faith. Salvation is of the Lord, beginning to end.

    My point was precisely the point you make – too many time, believers assume our life is the only witness we need. It is not – and I think most Christ-followers know that. The question is, how to get into the the gospel? How to transition a conversation naturally to talk about Jesus? How to be a good ambassador when time is limited, and there is no personal relationship (such as with a waitress, or on an airplane, or waiting in a doctor’s office).

    The Holy Spirit uses means – I have found the question, “how may I pray for you,” an effective way to pave the way for the verbal proclamation of the good news.

  4. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for your reply. Finding ways to transition conversations from the natural to the spiritual is always a worthwhile task.

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