“God, use me. I don’t even care what that looks like. Use me however you see fit.”
That’s what I fervently prayed alone in my truck as I drove home from a late-night breakfast with students from Midwestern State University at Denny’s.
Sam, a freshman, had opened up to us, and I couldn’t help but listen and be in awe of how God was using this young man and his story to increase my faith. God was speaking to me through every word Sam spoke. Sam had no idea I had started praying for him with his mother and students from the Baptist Student Ministry months ago when he started school in August. God had answered our specific prayers for Sam in very specific ways.
God heard our cry. He used Sam to show me just how powerful prayer really is. So, I left Denny’s with a fresh fire in my heart. And I prayed.
“God use me. I don’t even care what that looks like. Use me however you see fit. I know you hear my prayers, Lord. You’ve shown me that tonight. So I pray, Lord, use me for your glory. Use me to bring honor to your name.”
Result of prayer
I prayed the same prayer when I woke up the next day. What happened next, I believe, was a direct result of that prayer.
That morning, for the first time, I skipped the class I’ve been auditing this semester. I had a lot of catching up to do after being in Virginia for the Journeyman Expo the previous week. I made plans to meet a friend for lunch and was about to leave when I heard the office door open.
I looked back to see a guy I knew to be on the MSU football team. A big guy. Defensive lineman. He said he had been driving around all morning and that he needed to talk to someone. I told him I had time to chat.
As soon as he sank into the chair, he hung his head—and began to weep. Between sobs, he told me he didn’t know how he’d gotten where he was. He never thought he would have become who he was. He had treated people badly. His grandma raised him better than that. He told me she’d be disappointed in how he was living his life. And he went on in greater detail. His life was “out of control” and he wanted to “get back in the Word,” he said.
As I listened, I prayed, “God, give me words to say. Lord, you are the Wonderful Counselor. Speak through me. Use me.”
I asked him: “You say you need to get back in the Word. Do you know what the Word says about sin, life, death and the afterlife?”
I shared what the Bible says about sin—how we have broken God’s law and deserve death and eternal separation from him. He acknowledged that that’s where he was. Then I asked him if he wanted to hear the good news. He did.
In comes Christ—our great Redeemer, the one who paid the price we deserve to pay.
After I presented the gospel to him, we sat in silence. His head hung low. I could see he was thinking. I was praying. He looked up at me: “I’m sorry, man. I’m speechless. No one’s ever put it out there like that. It makes sense. I don’t know what to say.”
“You say you’re speechless,” I finally said. “That’s what the law does (Romans 3:19). There are only two things you can really say at this point before you get up and walk out of my office.
“Option one: ‘I’ve got this. I can do this on my own. Thanks for the talk, man.’ But we both know the reason you walked into my office in the first place is because you realize you don’t have it. You’re hopeless. You’ve tried doing it your way, and it’s not working out for you. That’s option one. You’ve heard the truth. You see your need for the saving grace Christ offers.
“Option two—Confess your need for Christ. Receive that gift. Turn away from your sin and put your faith in him. What will you say?”
In the end, we prayed. Cameron came to Christ in my office that day. I could have been in class. He could have walked up to a locked door at the BSM.
But God had other plans.
Josh Hayter, a graduate of Midwestern State University and former intern with the Baptist Standard and the Baptist General Convention of Texas communications office, is serving through Go Now Missions as a campus ministry intern with Baptist Student ministries at his alma mater.