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The Power of Prayer: How Author John Dickson Came to the Faith

The Australian Christian author and speaker John Dickson came to Christ through the faithful witness of an ordinary, middle-aged mother named Glenda. In Australia, the public schools used to offer a Scripture class taught by a volunteer from the local church, and Glenda became his teacher. Eventually, Glenda invited the whole class to her house on Friday afternoons for lunch and honest conversation about Jesus. Dickson writes:

So we went back the next Friday and the next Friday and the next Friday. Slowly but surely, the "Jesus stuff" became as important as the food, so we came with more and more friends. Some of these 15-year-olds were the worst sinners in the school.... But Glenda just opened her heart every Friday afternoon and treated us all like we were family.
There was one night when my friend Daniel was rather intoxicated, and we knew we couldn't take him to his house. His dad was an army man and would be livid. But we didn't want to leave him on the street, so we all said, "Let's take him to Glenda's house. She'll have him. She'll clean him up." So it was near midnight, and we knocked on her door. It turned out she was finishing up some kind of posh dinner party with lots of guests, but she didn't bat an eye. She welcomed us in, showed us straight past her guests into the back of the house. She went and got some spare clothes and said, "Throw him in the shower, clean him up, and just put him to bed. We'll sort it out in the morning." So we did.
The next morning we went back to Glenda's house around 10:00 to pick up Daniel. He was sitting at the kitchen table, and Glenda was making him bacon and eggs, and they were having a good old chat.
We took Daniel to Glenda's house because she had left a real impression on us that Christians actually like sinners. We had no doubt that she hated our drinking habits. She was a teetotaler, and talked openly about avoiding alcohol. But even in that situation, her first instinct was not to condemn us but to love us more, and it was extraordinary.
After about six months of Scripture classes, Friday afternoon events, and the incident with Daniel, we found ourselves thinking that Jesus was real, that he is inescapable, that he is powerful. So about six or eight months into it, about five of us became Christians—we really surrendered to Christ's lordship and accepted his mercy.
Years later, I was starting my own ministry and trying to explore new modes of reaching people. So my first thought was, I'll go to Glenda and ask her what her secret was. Since several of us had become Christians through her influence, I figured she must have had some strategy. I went to her fully expecting her to tell me about some program she implemented or some particular way she had of sharing the gospel. Without batting an eye, she said, "Prayer." I was really disappointed, but she continued, "That year a bunch of us who taught Scripture decided to make it a year of prayer—just to plead the Lord of the harvest to do something special. And we did. By the end of the year, there you all were, confessing Jesus." For an activist like me, that was a poignant lesson: in the end, the harvest is God's. It's not mine—it's not my creativity, it's not my skill—it's God's. We just have to bring our ministry to God and cry out to him to give us success.

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