You pour your heart out to someone you care about, gently and respectfully sharing the reasons you believe we can have hope in this world – and beyond this world - through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The person shrugs their shoulders and walks away.
How do you feel? What are you thinking? Will you dare to share ever again?
It’s easy to experience this and feel like a failure - the temptation to pray this kind of prayer...
“Lord, I tried to share good reasons for this person to believe – to trust in you. Yet, the conversation resulted in one more person walking away. I’m so sorry I let you down. I apologize for messing it up. I must not have said enough. I must not have said it right. I guess I don’t have the gift. I think next time I won’t embarrass myself - embarrass you. Don’t worry, next time I’ll keep my mouth closed.”
Don’t believe the lie.
Think Screwtape (the classic character in CS Lewis's story about our spiritual enemy) and choose to stand on the truth by praying this kind of prayer...
“Lord, thank you for the opportunity to share my faith. I recognize every one is a divine appointment, sovereignly orchestrated by you. With your supernatural help and strength, I was able to share the reasons why I believe, with love, gentleness and respect. That’s all I’m responsible to do. It’s not my responsibility to make anyone believe anything – I can’t. It’s not my responsibility to share reasons that will make others believe. I’m only responsible to share the reasons why I believe we can have hope in this world through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am responsible to pray - and I will, and I trust a seed was sown that will bear fruit in the future for your glory!”
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15