The Skeptics Challenge
Over the heads of the crowd the confident cry rang out, “There is no answer to prayer; it’s all imagination. Don’t be carried away. Use your own common sense. There is no hereafter. When we are dead, we are done for.”
The speaker was standing at the foot of a monolith erected in an open space of a busy city. A large crowd stood around listening as he tried to prove the nonexistence of God and the inefficacy of prayer. He concluded his speech with a professed readiness to debate the question with any person in the audience.
Instantly a man was seen making his way towards the speaker, saying at the same time, “I accept the challenge.” The people eagerly made way for the champion of prayer. He was tall and well dressed. But he was no orator; he had not the winning, catchy demeanor of his opponent. For a moment he stood looking at the sea of faces before him, faces waiting with eager expectancy for him to open the debate. A flush of color spread over his features, and the sweat stood in beads on his brow.
“Friends, I am not a public speaker,” he said. “I did not come to this meeting with the intention of disputing anything our friend might say, but when he denied that there was any efficacy in prayer, and challenged anyone to prove the contrary, I felt bound to come forward.”
The crowd cheered. He went on: “You see standing before you a man who was once as big a scoundrel as it was possible to find in the city. I was a drunkard, a gambler, a wife beater - yes, everything the word ‘brute’ implies! My wife and child dreaded the sound of my footsteps, and yet, bad as I was, unknown to me, my wife had for years been praying for me, and had taught my child to pray. One night I went home rather earlier than usual and by accident, sober. When I opened the door, my wife had just gone up the stairs to put the little one to bed. I stood listening at the foot of the stairs. My child was praying; she was praying for me. ‘Dear Lord, save my dear Daddy! Save my dear Daddy, Lord! Dear Lord Jesus, save my Daddy!’ And as she prayed in her simple childlike way, I heard my wife saying with a sob in her throat, ‘Lord Jesus, answer her prayer.’ I crept softly out of the house. Strange feelings were coming over me, and ringing in my ears was my child’s prayer: ‘Dear Lord Jesus, save my dear Daddy!’ Was I indeed dear to that child? In what way? She had never known a father’s love. I question whether she had ever known a father’s kiss. And as I thought of it, a great lump came into my throat, tears filled my eyes, and I cried aloud, ‘Lord, help me! Lord, answer my child’s prayer!’ And He did.
“Years have passed away since then. Today I am a respected member of society. The past is under the blood. I live in the present, a new creature in Christ Jesus, a living testimony to direct answer to prayer.” He paused, and then said eamestly, “Friends, don’t you think I would have been a coward if I had kept silent today? Can I do other than believe there is a God, and that he not only hears, but answers prayer?”
The skeptic made no reply and the people went silently and reverently away.
The Word of God declares: “Fools make a mock at sin” Proverbs 14:9 “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” Psalms 14:1 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” Galations. 6:7 “The wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23
Now, dear reader, have you ever called upon God? The day of judgment is fast approaching regardless of what the skeptics may say - a day of judgment without mercy for all who do not call upon God. Listen, God warns you in His Word: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded .., I also will laugh at your calamity. ... Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way” Proverbs 1:24-31 “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” Isaiah 55:6,7 “For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” Romans 10:12,13