ALEXANDRIA, LA (BP)–Every Sunday morning Crystal was dressed and ready for church before the van arrived at her home. She attended Sunday School with a smile, but without her parents.
During the worship service, an adult would sit with her and the other children. After all, a four-year-old can sit still only for so long. When the sermon was finished and the invitation given, Crystal was sure to run to the front of the sanctuary, bow down and begin to pray.
As a first-time, very young and very green pastor, I thought it was cute as the little girl came forward. However, after several weeks I began to worry she just wanted attention.
During the week, I was praying about how to handle the situation. The Holy Spirit impressed on me to pray with her instead of stopping her.
The next Sunday I was ready. As I gave the invitation, Crystal made her way to the little red steps leading up to the platform. I knelt down with her and said, “Crystal, what are you praying for?” She replied, “For my mom and dad to get saved.”
Over the next four years, Crystal prayed and our church would visit her home. Nothing seemed to reach her parents. Nothing that is, until Crystal, now eight years old, made a profession of faith during Vacation Bible School.
A deacon and I went to share the news with Crystal’s parents. Asking permission to baptize their daughter opened the door to sharing the Gospel.
As I began to share the Gospel message, Crystal’s mother excused herself to “handle something in the back of the house.” I continued to sharing with the father. When finished, I asked the father if he would like to receive Jesus’ offer to be his Lord and Savior. Before he could answer, the mother stepped through the door and said, “That’s exactly what I need to do.”
I went back through several verses confirming the mother’s decision. Then I asked the father if he wanted to receive salvation. He didn’t answer. Not knowing what to do, I went through the verses of Scripture again. When I asked if he would like to be saved, the father just grunted at me. Again, I didn’t know what to do, but I shared the message again. I asked the father, who had not said a single word, if he wanted to be saved. He just stared straight at me. I really didn’t know what to do, so I stared back. I was determined he was going to answer. Finally, after what felt like an hour, he said, “Uh-huh.” Moments later, he said, “I think I will.”
Confirming what the father wanted to do. I prayed with both the mother and father to receive Christ. God gloriously answered Crystal’s prayers.
The man, who rarely spoke, became an extremely effective witness and was radically changed. He even began to carry Gospel tracts in his mechanic’s hat so he could share at anytime. The family began to worship every Sunday together. They even helped plant a new church.
Don’t ever give up on your family. When the people you love are not open to the Gospel, pray. Pray for their hearts to be receptive to the Gospel and pray for Christians to be obedient to the Great Commission. Evangelistic prayer works. Just ask Crystal.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.