Last night, I went into the streets of downtown Minneapolis to share the gospel with people. It was with a group, so I had some friends with me.
Of the few people I met, one really stood out to me. There was a guy named Victor who was sitting on a bench with another guy. It was dark outside, but I walked up and asked him how he was doing (trying to start a casual conversation.)
He yells “Before you say anything to me, I’m smoking weed right now. You can’t change that; I’m a grown man. I make my own decisions, and I want to smoke weed.” I may have left out a few expletives. He then said “Good, now that we’re clear, give me your spiel.”
“Man, I’m not wanting to give you a spiel. You are getting no judgement from me.” My first concern is not physical damage, but spiritual. It’s obvious Victor has been hurt before.
“No, it’s okay. I told you that you can give me your spiel. Give it to me.”
“I just want to know, how can I pray for you? I don’t want to talk your head off or beat you with a Bible. How can I pray for you today?”
His tone changed when he says “I, umm, I really think that God has blessed me. You can thank him for that. He has given me great musical talent.” Victor then shows me a picture of Prince and we talk about it, but mostly about me not knowing who it was by looking at the picture!
We talked about his life for a while, weaving the gospel into the conversation. I asked if we could pray. He immediately grabbed my hands and bowed his head. I prayed something along the lines of “Lord, give us a desire to know you and to seek you above all else. Thank you for the talent that you have graciously given Victor. You are so amazing.” So on, and so forth.
When I say amen, Victor starts praying. “Thank you for putting us here, God. Thank you for what you’ve given me.”
We talked some more. I asked if he had a Bible, and points to his bag on the bench. “I keep one in there when I go places. It’s in there now.”
I tried to give him the 21 day challenge, and I told him that if he wants to do it, I would pray for him every day for those 21 days. He said “Why don’t you just pray for you, and I’ll pray for me.”
We shook hands and left. Of course, there was a lot let unsaid here. There was a point when my friend Julie was talking with us. There was another point when another guy started talking to us, but we couldn’t understand him.
I would seriously urge you guys to join with me in prayer for Victor.
The awesome thing is, this kind of situation isn’t uncommon when sharing the gospel. People desire to know Jesus, but are unwilling to follow through because of their sin. We had a good, gospel conversation.
A few prayer suggestions:
Pray that Victor comes to the knowledge of Christ, and that he is drawn to the Bible that he carries. Pray that he begins to have faith in Jesus so that Jesus may be able to say to him “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.” Pray that his eyes and heart are filled with the realization of the beauty of God. Pray that someone else will come to him without judgement to share the gospel with him. Pray that God pursues him and the gospel will be a broken record in his head.
As a final note, please realize that when I am saying “without judgement,” I mean that I am not condemning him. I do not mean that you can’t communicate the judgement of God.
“Before we can see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” — John Stott