“You need to be able to preach, pray or die at a moments notice,” was a phrase I heard while training in seminary and has become especially poignant in Thailand where I am sometimes called upon to preach in Thai and often pray without any prior notice … fortunately I’ve not had to respond to the third aspect. Recently I flew to a Bible school in NE Thailand and on the way sat next to two 17 year old Thai high school students. As we talked, I thought about a story that would relate to these youth and decided to tell them from memory the entire prodigal son story from Luke 15. This prompted a good discussion, sharing of a tract based on Luke 15, as well as an evangelistic app. The previous day I had been informed unexpectedly that I would be speaking in chapel to 35 Bible students for an hour. I decided to tell them the story of the paralytic in Mark 2. That evening while eating a meal with the director of the school and a number of friends, he asked me “Do you have something from the Word to share with us tonight?” In the past thinking of a spontaneous message in Thai for such an esteemed group would have made me go into diabetic shock.
Fortunately, I’ve made it a goal of having many Biblical stories in my heart pocket for just such occasions. I immediately started telling the story of Mephibosheth from 1 Samuel 9. Incidents like this reminded me of Paul who was often called upon to speak at the spur of the moment, such as the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, “After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it” (Acts 13:15). Do pray that our O missionaries here in Thailand will have a good “word of exhortation” and “say it” accurately and powerfully to the Thai as God opens up divine appointments for ministry in this land.