“They taught me how to pray. “

Kasserine is a town in Tunisia and is a fertile recruiting ground for ISIS. A young Muslim agreed to talk to a reporter if he could remain anonymous. “How did you come to join them?” He was asked.

“I used to drink and smoke. I decided to go to my neighborhood mosque to find my way to God. That’s when I met them. They taught me how to pray. ”

“They,” as it turned out. were ISIS militants. The young man said he didn’t know that at the time. All he knew was that he was searching for answers and they had those in ready supply.

“I saw they had their own private little groups and I joined in. They talked about how you could attain heaven and what our duties were as Muslims.”

Are there people around us like this young man? Do they, like Jesus’ disciples, want to know how to pray?  The answer is yes. When we Christians pray ourselves, we can help others find their way to God as these ISIS recruiters did—but leading them to the Prince of Peace, not a false god of violence.

We might think the best way to witness is to start out with Bible verses and explain the plan of salvation. I have had some success by…well, let me just share an encounter I had recently.

My car was stalled in a friend’s driveway so I called Triple A. A fellow in his early 30’s pulled up in his tow truck to jump start my battery. As he went about his business, I could see he looked to be down.

“So what’s going on in your life?” I asked

It was as though he had been waiting for someone to ask him that.  He began to open up about  a number of reverses in his life.  He had been considering suicide.

“Do you pray?” I inquired.

“I want to, but don’t know how.”  I began to tell him that God was near to Him, nearer than I was. “If you can talk to me, you certainly can talk to him. Just tell him what’s going on, what you’re feeling. You can close your eyes or just look up,” I explained. He smiled, shrugged and began talking to God. It was very cool.

I then asked him what he thought about Jesus. He gave some doctrinal answers, probably learned in a church.  “Do you believe He died for you?”  He did.  “Do you believe He was raised from the dead?” He nodded. “Then he’s alive,  isn’t he?  He’s right here. Why not tell him what you need.”

Soon he was opening his heart to Christ.  From there it was quite natural for him to ask God to forgive his sins and right there by my now purring engine, he prayed to invite Jesus into his life.

Witnessing to the power of Jesus Christ can be done like this. Evangelism can begin and end by teaching people how to reach out to God for themselves.

Lord, teach us how pray and give us the courage to help others to learn also.


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