Friday, August 9, 2013

Honest Thoughts On Street Evangelism

Kona 2008

When I was in Kona a few weeks ago, I visited the prayer room at the YWAM campus for a short time.  Before that I had a couple of conversations with Dan Baumann and through those talks and time in the prayer room, it led me to want to start an optional time of prayer and worship here on the YWAM Honolulu base....

When I pitched the idea to some others they were all on board.  One of the guys even said that he felt God had been speaking the same thing to him recently but that he told God he wouldn't do it alone.  

So for the past few weeks, we've been gathering in our prayer room at lunch time to worship and pray.  It's been a really precious time.  And more people are on board and its continuing.  

Last Thursday was the next to the last day for our committed 3 weeks.  During prayer on Thursday, God moved on our hearts to pray for the lost.  So instead of sitting in the prayer room the next Friday praying we decided to go out and pray for people on the streets.  

I believe that our prayer times should draw us closer to God, which in turn is going to give us a heart for people.  

I've prayed for people on the street, many times before.  I used to even enjoy it I think.  For some reason I don't enjoy it as much as I used to, that's a whole other can of worms.  But crazy things always happen when you step out in faith.  

I went with Spencer, who is really passionate about this stuff.  He felt like God was leading Him to pray for a woman with a baseball cap on.  We walked up to the Manoa market place went into Longs drugs, bought a drink and turned up the next corner.  There was a woman sitting right there with a baseball cap on.  (She was the only woman we saw with a baseball cap the whole time we were out)  She was sitting talking to her son.  

Spencer introduced himself and told her that he felt like God had told him earlier in the day that he was to pray for a lady with a baseball cap on.  He asked her if there was anything that he could pray for her for.  The lady immediately knew what she wanted prayer for, and asked for prayer for her niece.  Spencer prayed for her and we went on our way.  

Spencer got to pray for a couple of other people.  Everyone I asked declined.  

We were wrapping up, and were walking through a parking lot.  A guy was walking across perpendicular to where we were.  I approached him and said "Excuse me sir, we're out here praying for people, do you need prayer for anything?"  And he didn't make eye contact with me, and kept walking."  My response... "okay then, God bless you sir..."  But in a gross sarcastic, offended way.  

My God bless you sounded more like a "screw you then."  Which I'm not at all proud of.  I was offended, that he didn't even acknowledge me, and the fact that everyone I had asked for prayer didn't want prayer.  BUT being out on the street praying for people isn't about ME!  I should be more used to being rejected at times like these.  

Going out and praying for people on the street is uncomfortable.  It's not natural.  I grew up in a place where you don't really speak to people in public, or make eye contact.  I just got back from the grocery store and the lady behind me asked if I lived around here and if I knew where she could get an ipod cord.  I'm still not used to people speaking to me in public.  

I feel strange completely interrupting someones day to ask them if they want prayer.  I told Spencer this, and he responded... "sometimes people need an interruption."  I agree.  

I did this with my buddy James in Jamestown NY when I lived there.  We went into an autobody shop on 2nd street, and asked the guy working if he wanted prayer.  He said he did, and said he needed to kick his drug habit.  After we prayed for him, he said that he felt tingling in his body and felt more peaceful than he ever had before.  We thought that was a pretty cool time.  Then like 3 weeks later we were in the area, and the guy saw us and came out to us.  He had cut his hair, and looked a lot healthier and told us that he had been clean for 3 weeks ever since we prayed for him!  

I think what makes it even harder is we were going into an area that we frequent a lot.  Doing evangelism in an area where you won't ever be again is a lot easier to be bold.  But doing it in your own neighborhood seems a lot harder.  

The other thing I feel strange about is, I don't know how I'd respond if someone asked me if I wanted prayer on the streets.  My default would probably be just like the guy did to me in the parking lot, keep walking and ignore... or I hope I'd be able to give a graceful, "no thanks."  

Engage:  Have you ever prayed for people in the street?  What was your experience?  How do you feel about street evangelism?  Let us know in the comments.  

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