Some people trust Christ when their questions about life are answered.
Others are escorted into the kingdom of God by solid apologetic arguments concerning truth.
Some observe a life explained only by a relationship with a risen savior.
Still others seek demonstration of God’s power. They need to see God is active today.
This desire is not new and we have some examples of missionaries who have demonstrated God’s power in order to highlight the reality of the gospel. One such missionary was Boniface of Germany. Boniface served as a missionary bishop to what is now the Reinland in Germany. The people had a fickle faith. Many reverted to paganism after receiving Christian baptism. He knew that drastic measures were needed to validate Christianity.
The villagers worshiped a tree, the Thundergod Tree. They believed the god in that tree protected their village and they lived in constant fear of offending him. One day, Boniface went into the center of town and cut down their beloved tree. All of the villagers gathered to see if the god of the tree. He lived. This demonstrated to the villagers that the God of Boniface was more powerful than their now dead god. This caused many to convert to Christianity. Are there lessons to learn from this power encounter?
Power Encounters are not always “over the top miracles” – We often think that for God’s power to be shown, it requires a Boniface type event. Or something similar to Elijah on Mt Carmel. It is true that God can do great miracles. The Bible is filled with wonderful stories of God’s activity. God may lead you to engage in a great test of faith, however there are more subtle, more natural ways to demonstrate God’s power daily. One of the best power sources for the mission minded Christian is prayer. We all pray – but have you prayed as a person on mission?
Seek to be known as a person of Prayer – How seriously do you take prayer? One of the most frequent lies Christians tell is “I’ll pray for you?” Thom Rainer has written on this here. Rather than kick ourselves, I want to challenge you to allow prayer to demonstrate God’s power to unbelievers. HOW? Be sensitive to opportunities to pray for others. PRAY… actually pray diligently for the request. Let them know you are praying, be specific. Check back with the person and when God answers, use this opportunity to testify about God’s power and the gospel.
Make your Prayers Missional – too many of our prayers sound like TV commercials:
“Help us feel better”
“Help us have purpose”
“Help us feel safe and secure”
These prayers are nice, but aren’t Missional. When you pray missionally you are asking God to demonstrate his power:
“Let this circumstance highlight their need for you”
“Use this healing to highlight that you alone are the source of strength”
“Let this crisis last until they know your power.”
Don’t be afraid of risky prayers – the scriptures are filled with prayer promises and examples of praying people. Study them. Use them. Don’t feel like you need to protect God’s reputation. These promises lead to powerful prayer. The power of missionary praying.
Be intentional about follow-up – When God moves, follow up with a personal, verbal witness. No event is self-interpreting. It is crucial for you to bring the word to bear on these situations. Remember – Faith comes by hearing the word of God! In Acts 8:36 – God performed the miracle of dropping Phillip in the path of the Ethopian. But Luke is clear that “Philip opened his mouth and told him the good news.”
Don’t be shy – you have prayed – God has answered – now “open your mouth” and shared the good news.
We would love to help you with this. Let us know if you have questions or with examples of success!
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com