I would guess that most of us have had some pretty negative responses from people when they find out we are a Christian or address spiritual things in any way. Comments like, "Don't try shove your religion down my throat," or "You're just one of those intolerant radicals," can be commonplace. People just walking away or changing the subject can be the norm much of the time.
However, there is one question I've rarely, if ever, had someone say "No" to or respond to in some other negative way. The question is simply, "Could I pray for you?" In coffee shops, on airplanes, talking to a neighbor or meeting someone in a hospital have all been fertile ground for opportunities to pray for people. And I'm convinced that those brief times of prayer and care have been used by God to till the soil for people to one day embrace Christ.
In fact I wonder if we Christians aren't often insensitive to what's going on in someone else's world when we try to say too much about Jesus before we've tried to first be like Jesus. Taking a moment to just pray often touches the deep recesses of someone's soul in a way they will remember positively and perhaps never forget.
I was in a Starbuck's not too long ago after a hospital visit having a little time to kill before my next appointment. I ordered my drink relishing a little alone time and sat down in a vacant corner of the coffee shop. Before long a young man sat down nearby holding a big Frappuccino. While wanting to just kick back and leave him alone God seemed to be prompting me to say something so I did. With a frown on his face he told me that he really didn't know what this drink was but a friend had told him to get it sometime.
I wondered in my mind why he wouldn't know about something so common but then he began to tell me that he had just gotten out of prison and was now looking for a job. Now I understood the lack of knowledge about coffee drinks. And before we were done I simply asked if I could pray for him and that he found something quickly. He was more than happy for my prayers.
I'm confident others would be too if we could start there. It's from that kind of care and compassion that longer relationships can be cultivated and conversations about spiritual things can continue and deepen. With people like the young man at Starbuck's we sometimes have to just trust God to bring the next person along who can grow their relationship in the fertile soil of our introduction to Christ through prayer.
So, who in your world today or tomorrow or the next day might need you to pray for them? Look for chances to do so. Pray for those opportunities. My hunch is that you will not get turned down.