Open Air Work, Proverbs, and Prayer

A fairly small part of my role is open air work.

Once a month, myself and a couple of friends head into Broad Street to share with people there the good news of salvation in Jesus. We seek to do this by listening, preaching, sharing testimonies, giving out literature, and trying to get into conversations.

Once every couple of months, myself and a few friends go to Broad Street to help people know about the nature and scale of abortion, and the value of human beings. You can see some of the images we use here.

I look with amazement at those who are out day after day, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in high streets to what seem to me largely apathetic, occasionally aggressive, passers by. Of course, each person who passes by is made in the image of God, and needs to hear the good news of Christ. And wonderfully, there are encouragements – in both kinds of open air work, people who have never heard the gospel before hear it. People are caused to think about eternity. People are caused to think about the nature and value of unborn children. Now and then, we’ve seen people come to church, and even come to faith, as a result. Christians, and people who want to stand for life against abortion, are encouraged to see the work in the street, and hopefully emboldened to share about these truths more with those around them.

But in open air work, I think we often feel the reality of the spiritual battle in a keener, more raw way, than we might when running a Sunday service or another ministry in one of our buildings.

So can I ask that you would pray for us?

Here are three sections from the book of Proverbs, and why we need prayer in line with them:

Proverbs 1:20-22

‘Wisdom cries aloud in the street,

she raises her voice in the public squares;

at the head of the noisy streets she cries out,

in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:

“How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?

How long will mockers delight in mockery

and fools hate knowledge?”‘

Open air work isn’t easy. But it’s important. Because most people aren’t coming to church. Most people aren’t at The Oasis, or our English language classes, or any of our ministries. Many don’t have a Christian friend who is looking to share the gospel with them. And yet we still want them to hear the good news about the Lord Jesus, who gives wisdom and saves from destruction. We still want them to recognise the seriousness and scale of abortion, and to value human life rightly. And this is one more way that they might do so. So we go out and seek to make the voice of wisdom heard in places where otherwise it wouldn’t be heard. We seek to make the voice of Lady Wisdom heard by people who otherwise wouldn’t hear them, calling them to the life they were made for, with the God who made them.

Please pray we would have the boldness to speak truth plainly, because we are speaking to people who need to hear these truths.

Proverbs 15:1

‘A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.’

This proverb changed the way I did youth work with teenagers during my twenties. It affected the way I taught in a primary school. It influences the way I pastor. And it’s a really important verse for any kind of open air work. Telling people that they have rebelled against God and that only through Jesus can they be forgiven isn’t an easy message to stomach. It will offend people. Telling people that what is generally considered a basic right is a great moral wrong is unlikely to go down well. But God’s Spirit has given us wisdom in these words, telling us that even as we speak truth, a natural (fallen) anger can be countered and turned away by a gentle approach, a gentle tone, and gentle but truthful words. But of course, to fight fire with fire, to react harshly to those who pass by is likely to stir up more anger.

So please pray that God’s Spirit would be at work in us, giving us the peace that passes understanding through Jesus Christ, so that we might have wisdom to answer gently, even in the face of anger.

Proverbs 3:5-6

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.’

Ultimately, in both these forms of outreach, we do believe that all wisdom is in Christ, and that fulness of life is in him. And so, as we share about him, and about the life he offers with others, we want to be doing so from hearts that trust him, and lives that seek to make him foremost.

Pray we would trust his wisdom and be seeking to live for the One we want to make known to others.


One thought on “Open Air Work, Proverbs, and Prayer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s