He cried out boldly to the crowd: “There is no answer to prayer! It’s only your imagination! Use your common sense! And there is no hereafter either! When we die we’re done for!”
A large crowd gathered in the town square to listen as the arrogant atheist questioned the existence of God and the value of prayer. He ended his speech by challenging anyone to debate him.
Instantly a man in the crowd accepted the challenge, coming forward. The people eagerly made way for him, anticipating a good debate. The challenger was well dressed, but did not look like a match for the skeptic.
He looked over the crowd for a moment before speaking: “I’m not a public speaker. I did not intend to dispute anything this man has said. But when he said there was no value in prayer, and challenged anyone to prove him wrong, I had to come forward." The crowd cheered.
“You see standing before you a man who was once as big a liar, drunk, gambler, and wife beater as you can find in this city. I was all this and more! My wife and daughter dreaded the sound of my footsteps. And yet, bad as I was, and unknown to me, my wife had prayed for me for years – and even taught my child to pray for me.
“One night, quite by accident, I ended up at home sober and much earlier than usual. When I opened the door, I could hear my little daughter praying, ‘Dear Lord, save my Daddy! Please save my Daddy!’ As she prayed her childlike prayer, I heard my wife in the background sobbing, ‘Lord Jesus, please answer her prayer.’
“I left the house quietly, with strange feelings. My daughter’s prayer was ringing in my ears. Did that child really care that much for me? Why? She had never known a father’s love. I don’t think I had ever kissed her. I got a lump in my throat and tears filled my eyes. I cried, ‘Lord, help me! Lord, answer my daughter’s prayer!’ And guess what? He did!
“That was years ago. Today I am respected in this town. My sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. I am a new creation in Christ. I am saved, and a living testimony that God did answer my daughter’s prayer.”
He paused, and then asked his listeners, “Friends, wouldn’t I be a coward if I kept silent today? How can I do anything but believe that there is a God, and that He not only hears, but also answers prayer?” The debate was over. The atheist was speechless as the crowd silently went away.
The Bible says: “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1); “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7); “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Judgment day is fast approaching, regardless of what the people say. It will be a day without mercy for all who do not call upon God. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near … for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Will you accept God’s challenge?
Scriptures from The New King James Version, © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. By permission.