Prayer and building relationships are two keys to effectively sharing the gospel with anyone, and your Buddhist friends are no exception! Let’s take a look at how prayer and relationship form a strong foundation for sharing the gospel.
Prayer: For Them and With Them
Remember: nothing you do or say will be effective without the Holy Spirit working in the life of your Buddhist friend. Ultimately, your efforts will not result in anyone coming to Christ unless God moves in your friend’s heart. That’s why it’s crucial to pray! Commit to regularly lift up your least-reached friends in prayer, asking the Lord to open their hearts and minds.
Don’t just pray for your Buddhist friends—pray with them, too! By praying with them, you can demonstrate that you worship a personal and loving God, and they can experience the power of prayer for themselves as they realize that God hears and answers. In addition, offering to pray for the needs of your friend is a way to demonstrate love toward him or her. Explain that prayer is talking to God personally and ask your friend how you can pray for him or her.
The Role of Relationship
Understanding the Eastern mindset can help you more effectively reach out to Buddhists, especially those raised outside of North America. In the West, people are generally viewed as individuals with whom friendships are quickly made and, sometimes, just as quickly forgotten. However, Eastern culture is more relational and rooted in community. If you want to effectively share the gospel with most Buddhists, you will need to take the time to build trusting, genuine friendships.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your faith as you get to know a Buddhist, but realize that your words may not hold much weight until you have gained your friend’s trust and have demonstrated that you trust him or her in return. Friendship is mutual in Eastern culture: you shouldn’t be afraid to ask a Buddhist friend for help with something. By “indebting” yourself to him or her, you strengthen your bond; such a bond is helpful in establishing a relationship in which you can share the gospel.