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Prayerful Intentionality

Roger Carswell

Prayerful Intentionality

Roger Carswell is a travelling evangelist and author. He leads evangelistic church and university missions as well as speaking at Christian conferences. He has written seventeen books including And Some Evangelists and Where is God in a messed up world?, and publishes numerous gospel tracts and booklets. He is married to Dot and they have four children.

There is so much about the Christian life that I love. To be awakened every morning to hear God’s word and speak with my loving Father in prayer is an immense privilege. To worship in the company of others and sing God’s praise is heart-warming and spiritual. To live with God’s moment-by-moment presence is assuring. Yet, all of these we will be able to enjoy to a far greater extent in glory.  

There is one joy and responsibility which is ours as Christians that can be fulfilled only on earth. There will be no soul-winning in heaven! I have found that one of the greatest privileges of every day is that of speaking to others about the Lord Jesus. It is a source of joy and spiritual blessing.

For over fifty years I have followed what I learned from the life of D.L. Moody, the great American evangelist, to not let a day go by without speaking to someone about Jesus. I trust it has been a blessing to the thousands with whom I have spoken, but it has been an immense blessing to me. It has helped me walk closely with Jesus, and kept Him as the focus of my conversations, turning inconsequential chatter into eternally significant moments. I am not legalistic about it, but I have found that this daily, dogged, delightful discipline has helped keep evangelism as a lifestyle for me.  

It is too easy to be isolated and insulated from the world by secluding ourselves in studies, libraries, cars and coffee shops. I love this quotation from Alex McFarland, ‘We are not commissioned to talk theology over lattés; we are commissioned to preach the gospel to every creature’. Each day for me is redeemed or lost by speaking (or not) to an unconverted person and speaking to them of Christ.

I believe the key to this lifestyle is to be intentional about it. In my morning quiet times I pray that the Lord will open doors of conversation for me. I want to move people a step nearer Jesus: some are miles away … and some are a step away.

And then I go out into the world and chatter! In a cheery way I just talk to people! The person I stand next to in the bus queue, or sit next to on the train; the person at the supermarket checkout or the delivery man who comes to my door; my neighbours, my GP, the telephone salesperson and so on. Clearly, when talking with relatives, neighbours and colleagues, we pray for the ‘right’ moment to speak and share about Jesus, but with those whom I will never see again, I seek to winsomely introduce the Lord Jesus, and see if it leads to an opportunity to say more about ‘Christ and Him crucified’.

I have found that tracts (I call them Christian leaflets when speaking with others) can be the key to open the door of conversation, or possibly close it if I have been sharing the gospel and then want to pass on something which the Lord may use to reinforce what I have just been sharing. I always have with me my tract wallet containing several different tracts. (If you would like a sample pack of tracts, please ask by  your postal address). I have found that if I have some short dealings with someone I can easily add the words, “May I give you a Christian leaflet, which I think you will enjoy? It is nothing odd, but just explains how Jesus came into the world to save sinners … and I am sure you will agree, we qualify!” Then if they are responsive I try to ask them something like “Have you ever thought much about Jesus?” and see where the conversation goes.

But don't forget: prayerful intentionality, and then... just talk!

Want to hear more? Take a look at a recent talk Roger gave called ‘From small talk to big talk’.