Praying And Looking For Seekers!
Although God does not perform miracles or provide direct inspiration today, He still works apart from the word through answered prayer and providence. Each Christian must be involved in the process of reaching the lost. Our single greatest barrier today is contacting seekers to teach the gospel to. At one end of the spectrum of contacting seekers is the telecomputer which will enroll 150 people a month in a correspondence course. At the other end of the scale is a Christian praying to God to lead him to a seeker through providence. You don't believe God operates this way? Look again:
Here is the triangle of seeking:
"But an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers" Jn 4:23.
"Ask and it shall be given to you, Seek and you will find, knock and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, it shall be opened" Mt 7:7-8.
"Preach the gospel to every creature" Mt 28:18. "All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you" Mk 11:24. "If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" Jn 15:7.
You will notice that the only possible breakdown in the whole process is when Christians are not seeking the lost. They are also an essential link. God has always used human messengers to teach the gospel. We can have total confidence that God will answer our prayer because we can be absolutely sure it is His will that Christians teach seekers the gospel. This is perhaps the clearest cut case that fulfills, "You have not because you ask not" Jas 4:2.
Following, are two stories of Christians who sought and found "seekers". For those who think this kind of answered prayer must be co-incidence, we refer them to William Temple who replied to his skeptic friend; "That may be true, but I have noticed that when I pray, co-incidences happen; and when I don't, they don't."
Sewell Hall, On a recent sermon at the Central church in Ocala, Florida, it was suggested that Christians should pray for prospects whom they might bring to Christ. One young mother took the suggestion seriously and began praying for hers. Not long afterward, she was driving carefully along the street and passed a motorcycle patrolman. To her surprise, he turned on his lights and pulled her over. Puzzled, she asked him what was wrong. His reply: "The tint on your windows is too dark."
She was incredulous. "I can't believe you stopped me for a little thing like this!" Then she paused a moment and added: "I know why you stopped me. I have been praying for someone that I might teach to be a Christian and you must be the one. "
"Well, lady, it's only around noon," he replied. "You still have time to find the one you're praying for."
"No," she insisted, "I'm sure you are the one."
"Well," he admitted, "since the first of the year, my wife has been trying to get us to go to church somewhere. I don't think I would be interested, but if you call her, she might be."
An initial contact was made; then more contacts followed, some including other young Christians. As a result, the patrolman's wife has been present more than once at a gospel meeting which is now in progress, and her husband was with her last night. Last word is that she was baptized.
Several years later, I personally met this couple in Ocala Florida and even saw the "offending tinted glass" with my own eyes! They are still faithful to this day! Praise God!
A few years ago, my wife and I were to attend a banquet for local hunting club. We had prayed that the Lord would lead us to meet some seeker whom we could teach the gospel. Our primary concern was to be seated beside the seeker. So we milled around for 15 minutes looking for a person who looked like they would be interested and open to the gospel. Unfortunately there were no vacant seats near any of the one's we deemed "looked good". With a feeling of failure, we just found two seats and took our place at a table. We ended up sitting within a family group. I was seated beside a 25 year old man and my wife beside his mother. Other family members were seated across from us. The usual introductions were made at the table and of course people often ask, "what do you do?" I told them I was a preacher for a local group of Christians. To our surprise, we were suddenly bombarded with a barrage of Bible related questions from all directions. Loreen, talked with the older mother about her "prodigal" 20 year old daughter. The mother suddenly announced to Loreen, "The priests cannot help my daughter, but you can." I talked with the 25 year old son, was able to set up a Bible study which lasted for several months.
In the end, none of them obeyed to gospel, but that is not important. God had led us to this young man who was seeking at the time. We are the workmen. Each soul we teach must make his own decisions. Yet looking back, I can see God's providence and answer to our prayers by leading us to this young man. Perhaps the biggest lesson learned here was that we do not know where God will lead us and we should be careful not to prejudge who is a seeker. I will never forget sitting at that table after the questions had started, and thanking God for answering my prayer and asking His forgiveness for thinking He had let me down.
A woman telephoned the manager of a large opera house and told him she had lost a valuable diamond pin the night before at the concert. The man told her to hold on the line while a search was made. The brooch was found, but when he got back to the phone, the woman had hung up. He waited for her to call again, and even put a notice in the paper, but he never heard from her again. We might think, "what a strange and foolish person". Yet many of us pray to God in the very same manner. We make requests of the Lord then fail to "hold on the line" for the answer. God answers prayer, but maybe not in the manner or time frame we might expect. Of all the prayers we might pray, we can be sure that it is the will of God that seekers hear the gospel. The only thing that is lacking is our faith to ask and willingness to invest the time to work in the vineyard.
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