“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” – John 14:6
Recently, I joined 19 others on a sports trip to East Asia. The team started most days by prayer walking in city parks and college campuses where we would play basketball later in the afternoon.
In eight previous trips, just like this one, we have focused our prayer walking time on petitioning God to provide divine appointments, spiritual conversations and new friends when we return to a busy basketball court just a few hours later. We would pray for safety on the court – that our team and our opponents would not have any injuries. We would pray for the people walking around us. I would venture to say that most of the hundreds of people around us had likely never been prayed for, so we would take time to do so.
But, on this trip, something different happened. It happened not just once, but nearly every time we went prayer walking. God did not wait for us to come back later in the day to show us people who needed to hear the Gospel. He provided opportunities right in front of us. He took a time that, historically, has been one of prayer and preparation and made it in to a time of participation and presentation.
One morning at a city park, I was praying over the basketball court where I broke my ankle several years ago. (I always spend a few extra minutes praying for safety there!) After praying, I walked towards the sound of a basketball bouncing and found two teammates talking to a boy named Harry. He was in eighth grade and spoke English very well. His father, Joe (well, I called him Joe because he didn’t have an English name as many people typically give themselves), did not speak any English.
Our conversation turned into a spiritual one as we talked about the Easter holiday we just celebrated. After some questioning, Harry and Joe said that they had not heard anything about Jesus, other than he was maybe the Son of God. Over the next 30 minutes, I had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with Harry and Joe. I paused often so Harry could translate for Joe. At times, Joe asked for clarification and Harry explained things to him. When I finished, I asked if they believed what I said was true.
“Yes, I believe they are true,” said Harry. I asked about his father. “My father says that he feels many things inside and that he needs to think about them.”
Before we parted, they both shook my hand. Joe gripped a little tighter, looked me in the eyes and said, “thank you” in broken English. As I walked away, I thought about how the only way I was able to get to Joe, the father, was through his son, Harry. And, how the only way Harry and Joe would be able to get to God, the Father, is through the Son, Jesus. And now they knew that, too.