Pray First

The Power of Prayer in Evangelism

After our son had left home and set out on his own, he visited Mardi Gras in New Orleans with friends. He had been struggling with substance abuse, and my wife, Cari, and I worried about the trip and choices he might make. We prayed for him constantly.

The first night he was there, our phone rang. His number popped up on the caller ID. Our worst fears rushed in. Was he in trouble? Had something happened to him? But when we answered the phone, his voice was clear and cheerful. “Dad,” he said, “the coolest thing just happened. We were walking through the French Quarter and came to one corner where some religious people were holding up signs and shouting at us. We kept on walking. Then we got to the next corner when another group from a church came up to us. They were really nice. They welcomed us and asked if there was anything they could pray for us about. Then we prayed together right there on the street. It was pretty cool. I thought you might like to know.”

Although it would be two years before God set our son free from drug addiction, that night marked a special moment for Cari and me. We caught a glimpse of the power of God to move in our son’s heart and were reminded of something the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (isaiah 59:1). Even when our son was on a prodigal path in “a far country” (luke 15:13 nkjv), through our prayers, God mercifully met him there in the kindness of others.

James Banks