I’ll bet it’s happened to you, too.
You mention your faith and immediately, your friends change the subject.
You credit God for doing something good in your life, and there’s an awkward silence.
Some act annoyed, or even offended, when you invite them to a church service or a Bible study.
It’s only natural to want to share your faith with those you love. But often, it can be awkward. When your family and friends are not receptive, it can make you feel rejected. It can stop you from sharing, altogether.
Or, at least that’s been my experience.
While some in my circle are believers and some are not, I’ve learned that the Lord wants me to encourage them all. The Bible tells us to share the good news with everyone (Mark 16:15). And it also tells believers to love and encourage each other in our faith, daily (Jude 1:20-21).
But how can you do that without coming across as pushy or preachy or odd?
How can you share your faith even if it’s awkward?
I struggled with these questions for a long time. Finally, after much soul searching and prayer, I’ve discovered 3 loving ways to share your faith:
Once, a teacher suggested that I write down my prayers for others in a notebook. Soon, I noticed that I prayed mostly for tangible needs, such as activities, jobs, and health.
My prayer list for others might have looked something like this:
• Please heal my neighbor’s sore throat.
• Dear God, please help my niece with her job interview on Tuesday.
• Oh Lord, give my child divine intervention in math.
And while these are great things to pray for, I realized I was neglecting to pray for their deeper needs —the needs of their souls (*see the “soul prayer list” below).
So, I began praying differently.
Every time I prayed for a tangible need, I also tried to pray for a soul-need, such as:
• Give my neighbor your peace while she recovers.
• Help my niece feel your presence as she interviews on Tuesday.
• Remind my child that you care about every aspect of his life (including math).
I learned that praying for deeper needs made me care more deeply. It helped me keep small issues in perspective. And it drew me closer to God, as if I was partnering with Him to encourage precious souls in their faith.
Telling someone you’re praying for them isn’t pushy or disrespectful–it’s caring. It’s a simple way to share your faith.
The old saying, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care,” is true. In order to share your faith and encourage others spiritually, you must first love them well. And while that’s easy to say, it can be really hard to do.
I find it helpful to think of loving others on 3 levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Physical love may look like this:
• Bringing soup to your friend who is sick.
• Repairing your neighbor’s leaky faucet.
• Cooking a special dinner for your husband.
Pretty basic stuff, right? But while we’re pretty good at physical love, we often struggle to love others on a deeper level, such as the emotional level.
Emotional love goes a bit deeper:
• Acceptance: accepting your friend as he is, instead of how you wish he was.
• Respect: speaking respectfully to your neighbor, even when she gets on your nerves.
• Forgiveness: forgiving your husband readily, even if he doesn’t ask you to.
But the deepest way you can love another person is on the spiritual level.
Spiritual love goes much deeper:
• Praying for your friend’s faith to grow.
• Encouraging your neighbor for any step she makes toward God.
• Telling your husband, “I prayed for God to bless your day.”
Years ago, I spoke at my first Christian event with knocking knees and a shaky voice. It was a huge leap of faith for me. HUGE. Some surprised me by sending kind notes of encouragement. Others prayed for me. And my sweet husband sat on the front row and wrapped me up in a big bear hug after it was over.
But honestly, there were one or two who were downright discouraging. And others were simply oblivious.
I’ve probably done the same thing.
But I don’t want to be like that. I’m sure you don’t, either.
Wherever your friends and family are in regard to faith, encourage each one to go deeper. Celebrate their good works. Show an interest in what God is doing in their lives. Support them as they take spiritual steps.
Spiritual encouragement may look like this:
• Is your friend serving in a ministry? Don’t let him feel alone! Pray for the ministry. Volunteer to help. This is another way to share your faith.
• Does your neighbor volunteer at the homeless shelter? Ask her about her work. Contribute to the shelter. Send a note, thanking her for helping the poor.
• Is your wife is speaking? Pray earnestly for her. Go, sit on the front row and give her a bear hug when it’s over. (My husband will never know how much his support means to me)
Of COURSE you can’t encourage everyone, all the time, for everything. But it’s good to consider: what can you do?
Spiritual encouragement is a beautiful way to share your faith. It means much more than you know.
In 2019 I stood up to speak to a large crowd, but I could hardly utter a word. There on the front row, I saw a large assortment of people whom I love—even some who once resisted my sharing—smiling back at me. And I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God had done a special miracle.
If you feel awkward as you share your faith and encourage others, please be patient. Sometimes, God’s work can seem pretty slow. And while some may never be receptive, some will be.
Trust the Lord to help you be a faithful witness for Him. He can pull down walls, melt hearts, and open locked doors. I’ve witnessed it. So can you. Remember to go deeper as you pray, love, and encourage others. Then leave them in the Lord Almighty’s hands.
*Get this FREE printable “soul-prayer list” (with verses) to pray for your child’s (or anyone’s) soul. Print it out and tuck it in your prayer journal. Send a copy to another parent. Use it for a devo at church. To download, sign up in the form below or in the pop-up box.