by Marilynn Chadwick
Always be ready to give an account for the hope that is within you (1 Peter 3:15). What does it mean to always be ready? During our nation’s Revolutionary War, the Minutemen—highly disciplined militia forces made up of ordinary farmers—had to be dressed and ready for battle in less than one minute. Thus, the name, “Minutemen.” As believers, we’re to be dressed and prepared for battle. But our warfare is against the forces of darkness. Our battle is to win the souls of people. Just like the Minutemen, we must be well trained, alert, and always ready. But let’s remember: It all begins with prayer. Every great move of God began with prayer. Who has God put on your heart? If we have prayed for a friend, it shouldn’t surprise us to discover that the Holy Spirit has been preparing them in advance to hear the Word of truth. The right moment to share the love of Jesus with them could happen any time. Anywhere. Years ago, our family befriended a professional basketball player from the Czech Republic (now Chechenia). David was chaplain for the Charlotte Hornets, and we got to know some of the players. What a thrill this was for our children. One player whom I’ll call Vlad was a special favorite. His girlfriend, whom I’ll call Katarina, was a lovely young woman, an attorney by profession. Both Vlad and Katarina had been raised atheists in the former Soviet bloc country then known as Czechoslovakia. They were hard core unbelievers—or so I thought. Katarina and I became friends. She was surprisingly open to talking about God, never shy about her doubts and questions. It might take God a really long time to reach this young woman, I realized, so all I could do was pray for her. That and be a listening friend. The time came for Vlad and Katarina to return to their homeland. She and I decided to grab a quick goodbye lunch. Katarina insisted on going to McDonald’s—a treat she had only recently discovered in the US! As we finished our meal, I sensed Katarina was softening. She asked, “What does a person need to do to “be saved?” I gently explained that all one needed to do to be saved was to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31). I explained how Christ’s death and resurrection brought total forgiveness for all her sin. Trying to be respectful and patient, I added, “I realize you may want some time to reflect on what I’ve just shared...maybe when you get home.” “Why can’t I do this now?” she suddenly blurted out. Seriously. Here in McDonalds?? So I walked Katarina through a simple prayer of salvation. I’m not sure we even closed our eyes. There happened to be a Christian bookstore next door where I bought her first Bible and a devotional book. Her face radiated new peace and joy. Since then, I’ve prayed for Katarina. And I’ve never forgotten this lesson: It’s important to always be ready whenever and wherever God calls you to share His Good News.