Yesterday, I started leading a few days of Spiritual renewal services at a church near my home. It’s been a really great experience so far. At the end of last night’s presentation, Pictures of Jesus, I decided not to give an altar call but rather just to challenge the people to see me or the pastor for prayer after the service. Well as the last song was being done, I just really felt led to go back to the front of the room and wait. It seemed the Spirit was working on someone in the room. No one came forward, but that’s not surprising, it seems harder than it used to be for people to leave their seats and walk the aisle, still I knew something was happening. I dismissed the people and a young man came up to me. I was expecting this might be the one. Instead he had a question for me. What Scriptural authority to you have for praying with someone to receive Jesus? It was a good question, one I had not been asked before and one I really didn’t have an answer for. The young man was very bright and well read in theology. He knew his Bible very well and I was feeling a little outclassed. But there was more.
You see I now knew he was not the one, but there was still someone there who needed help. I knew he desired a theological debate, but if that’s what he was looking for, he came to the wrong guy. There are many people qualified to have that kind of discussion, My qualifications are pretty simple. I’m the guy that proves God can use anybody. I learned a long time ago that people are not argued into the faith. Now I could have quoted scripture, like Romans 10:9-10, “9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” but I doubt that would have satisfied. or Romans 10:13 “for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” but I’m not sure that would have worked either.
So here’s what I know. I know that there was a time in my life where I came to the end of myself. I was at a revival meeting, when I felt God knocking at the door of my heart. An invitation was given at the end of the message and I responded. A pastor led me in a prayer of salvation and it worked. I don’t know if he had the scriptural authority to do that or not, but I do know this, when I prayed that prayer I crossed a line and something changed in my heart. Something big. I turned from my sin and turned to God. I was baptized and I received the Holy Spirit. If I had to state it, I’d say that’s my authority. The spirit of the living God lives in me. As far as the prayer goes, I don’t know, but I do know this. If it is wrong to pray that way, The Spirit in me knows my heart and He prays when I don’t know what to pray and that’s good enough for me.
Perhaps the best Scriptural argument I can give would come from Revelation 3:20 where Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me.” In other words, if God uses my ministry to knock at the door of someone’s heart, the prayer is nothing more than me helping them to answer the door. That may not be deep and theological, but I’m not about to let someone face a God-less eternity while I play theology. I’ll take my chances on grace and the power of the spirit to fill in any places where my knowledge fails.
By the way, if any of this inspires you to debate with me, please don’t, I won’t engage.