One day when I was prayer walking on that island off the south coast of China, I encountered a lady that was an acquaintance of our family, so we started to talk when we saw one another and she mentioned a problem that she was having at her work.
I asked her would you mind if I prayed for you about that.
Now this woman was unusual for that island in two ways: one, she was well-educated and very few people go past fourth grade in education on that island, and second, she was a communist party member, so she was an atheist. Again that’s very rare on this island.
So when I asked her could I pray for her, I imagine she really wasn’t that interested, but she didn’t want to hurt my feelings, so she said, “Sure, go ahead”.
I started to pray for her, and I prayed for her about that issue at her workplace, and then I prayed for her and her husband and her daughter who is six or seven years old, for their health, for their financial situation, for their relationships, for their spiritual life.
When I finished praying she did something unusual, she reached out and she grabbed my arm — now, it’s unusual in this culture for a woman to grab a man that she’s not related to — she grabbed my arm.
She said, “Thank you so much that was very meaningful”. She said, “It’s the strangest thing. The whole time you were praying, I felt this intense peace and love like I’ve never experienced before, thank you.”
So I said, “You’re welcome and we said our good-byes and went our separate ways.”
The next day, I was prayer walking on the same street and saw the same lady about the same time of day, and so when I saw her I went up, and I asked her for an update on the issue I had prayed about at her workplace.
She gave me an update and then she said, “Would you please pray for me again.”
I said sure, so I started to pray again. Now when I’m praying for people, when I’m out prayer walking like this, normally I’ll close my eyes, bow my head a little, and it’s mainly so I can focus, so I’m not distracted by things. On this day, I looked like I was closing my eyes, but I was actually peeking, because I wanted to watch her body language as I was praying.
So I prayed a similar prayer to what I had prayed before and her body language was extremely positive, so I decided to keep praying. After praying for her and her family, I prayed for our community, for our city, for our island, for the country of China, and then even for some international things that she would be aware of.
Her body language just kept being super positive, so I just kept praying.
Finally, I could not think of another thing I could possibly pray for. I probably prayed 20 minutes and I finished praying.
She said, “It happened again! The whole time you were praying, I just felt this intense peace and love like I’ve never experienced. It’s the strangest thing.”
Then she said, “Does God really care about all those things you prayed for?”
“Yes.” I said, “He is the creator of everything. He’s intimately concerned with all of his creation. He knows every bird that falls from the sky. He knows the number of hairs on your head. He’s absolutely concerned about all of those things.”
And then she said, “Can God really do something about all those things you prayed for?”
“Yes.” I said, “He has all wisdom and all knowledge. He has all power and all authority. He is present everywhere. He is outside of time itself. So He can see the end from the beginning. In him everything holds together. He can absolutely do something about all of those things that I prayed for.”
Then she said, “Can I pray?” (Not meaning right then but meaning in general.)
I said, “Yes, you can pray any time and God will hear you, but it won’t be the same as when I pray. You see, I have a relationship with God. I’ve been adopted as His child. He doesn’t have that relationship with you. He has no obligation to you, so it won’t be the same as when I pray, but the good news is you can have this kind of relationship with God.”
So then I explained the gospel to her starting in Genesis and going all the way to Revelation telling her the history of God’s revelation of Himself and did it from a relational perspective.
Then I said, “Would you like to do this right now? You can have this kind of a relationship with God.”
She said, “No. If I were to do that, I would almost certainly lose my job.” She had a government job. She said, “I’d be kicked out of the party. My husband would almost certainly leave me and he would take our daughter. I’m just not prepared to make those sacrifices.”
But, she said, “Can I teach my daughter to pray?”
Now this is a huge issue due to the one-child policy in China. What happened to your one child was the most important thing in life, so this was a big issue she was asking me about.
I said, “Yes. You can teach your daughter to pray. She also doesn’t have this kind of a relationship.”
She said, “I understand.”
So then we said our good-byes and we went our separate ways.
I then didn’t see her for some time. But the next time I saw her, she did something else unusual. She saw me off in the distance and ran up to me. Now that island is well down into the tropics. It’s hot and humid all the time. The people that live there are known for their laziness. So you never see an adult run for any reason, especially not somebody important like her.
But she ran up to me and said, “I too am a child of God.”
I said, “That’s wonderful! Please, tell me about it.”
She said, “The last time after we talked, I went home and I taught my daughter to pray. We would pray together every day about everything that happened. It was wonderful. And then a couple of weeks ago, we were in town and we were standing in line to buy some raffle ticket.”
There was a government-sponsored raffle. They were raffling off a television set and the money was to be used to care for handicapped children.
“So we were standing in line and my daughter said, ‘Mom, shouldn’t we pray about this first?”‘
And she said, “Yes! You’re absolutely right. We should.”
So she stopped in line there and prayed aloud. She said, “Dear God, please help us to win this television set.”
I wish I could have seen that. I can just hear that other people in line thinking — What is she doing? Is that fair?
So you have this atheist lady, praying, “Dear God, please help us win this television set. But even if we don’t win, that’s okay, we thank you that you have blessed everyone in our family with good health and whole bodies, we thank you that you have blessed us financially, so that we can afford to buy these tickets. We thank you that you love these handicapped children that no one else loves.”
You see in China, the handicapped are despised and resented. Everyone just wants them to die and go away.
Then she said, “I know God loves them though no one else does. Lord, please use the money that’s raised to give them full and happy lives, Amen.”
(She said they didn’t win the television set, by the way.)
She said, “That night I went home and I was laying on my bed and I was thinking about what I had prayed and I realized it was all true. God has blessed us with good health and whole bodies and with good finances. God does love those handicapped children no one else loves. And I realized I want to know that God. I want to serve that God. I want to be his child and I remembered how you told me that I could do that. So I chose to follow Jesus and I led my daughter to do the same thing.”
They became some of the first members of one of the first churches in this people group that became a movement that swept across that entire island and all I did was pray for her twice.
Evangelism can be done through prayer, through prayer walking, and for me I find that is the most effective way to share my faith.
More Multiplication Concepts
This concept is part of the “Multiplication Concepts” series by Curtis Sergeant. Consider working through the entire series and challenging someone you know to do it with you. See an entire list of the concepts in the article titled “Multiplication Concepts”.
This same concept is taught in the Zúme Training course using video animation and is translated into 40 languages. This concept is taught in “Prayer Walking and How To Do It” in session 5 of the Zúme Training.
Zúme Training is an on-line and in-life learning experience designed for small groups who follow Jesus to learn how to obey His Great Commission and make disciples who multiply.