Sweaty palms. Racing heartbeat. Dry mouth. These are all symptoms of evangephobia—the fear of evangelism. All believers face it at some point in time. How do you overcome it? A surprising source of advice would be Paul the apostle. He is more like us than you might think!
Most believers see Paul’s aggressiveness in talking to others about Christ as that of a lion plowing his way through a flock of lambs. Instead, Paul probably felt more like a lamb in a lion’s den at times. He wrote to the Corinthians, “I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3).
Paul? Trembling? So what was his solution?
Paul asked others to pray for two specific requests: “And [pray] for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:19–20).
His two requests were for utterance and boldness. Utterance means the ability to speak. Simply put, he was saying, “Pray that when I open my mouth something will come out of it.” We’d call it speaking up instead of freezing up. Boldness means courage.
What is the key to overcoming evangephobia? Prayer. Ask your Christian friends to pray for you and have them ask God for two things: That when you open your mouth to share the gospel something will come out of it and what comes out will come out boldly. As God answers prayer, you will see courage overpower fear. You may still be afraid, but you’ll share the gospel because your fear has been conquered.
Paul’s bold proclamation of the gospel in the midst of fear proves such prayers are effective. This is one reason we emphasize the need for a method. God will do His part, but you have to do yours.
Put a method in your mind so that, as others pray for you, His Word can be spoken through you. Remember that 1 John 5:14 tells us, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Have others purposefully praying for you, asking God to give you what Paul called utterance and boldness. Then, if you have a relapse of evangephobia, prayer will conquer it and it won’t be able to silence you.