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I recently attended the Spanish track of SBTC’s Empower Conference. One of the conferences offered was led by our new Hispanic church planters in Tioga, Over and Cristina Ochoa. The title of this article was the title of their workshop.
Over and Cristina espoused three elements critical to evangelism: the Holy Spirit, Prayer, and Obedience.
Regardless of the methodology, one uses in presenting the Gospel, these three must be present. Of these three, they focused on prayer as the radical element.
They asked attendants these questions:
Over explained that Jesus knew what to do and what to say not because He was God in the flesh, but because He was submissive to God in intimate fellowship through the Holy Spirit and through prayer.
Not only could Jesus do this, but others did this as well: Philip with the Ethiopian, Simeon and Anna when Jesus was presented at the Temple, Paul when he tried to enter Asia to preach the Gospel, Peter when facing Ananias and Saphira, to mention a few.
Our task of evangelism is based on the Holy Spirit – who convinces the world of sin, justice, and judgment – and on our obedience to share. Prayer is the surprising element needed to answer the spiritual battle that takes place not only in evangelism but in every area of our lives. As we put on the spiritual armor required by God to face the enemy, the Holy Spirit responds to our active prayer and leads us forward.
When sharing the Gospel, enemies may be present for both from the one called to share and also from those who hear its message. Over cited Jonah as one who did not want to share God’s message with his enemies. Paul stated in II Corinthians 4:3-5 that the god of this age blinds the understanding of those with whom we share the message.
Over and Cristina have discovered that it is through prayer that one can discern the spiritual barrier that may be present when we share the Gospel with someone. It could be spiritual blindness, a specific sin, opposition, spiritual bondage, bitterness, etc. We are given spiritual discernment when facing these barriers. Jesus knew that the blind man was in his condition not because he or his parents had sinned, but that God’s glory might be shown to the world. Peter discerned the lie of Ananias and Saphira through the Holy Spirit’s revelation.
These barriers are overcome when we put on the armor of God and prayer as stated in Ephesians 6:10-18, “18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers…” (NLT) By doing this, we will be most effective in evangelism as we connect to the Holy Spirit through prayer and are obedient to the Holy Spirit’s specific instructions.