I dreamed last night that a friend I have been praying for finally became interested in Christianity. He asked me, “What’s the best book I can read to understand Christianity?” I was puzzled. At first, I thought, Mere Christianity, only to realize that Mere Christianity is better suited for a new Christian or someone who needs to become more serious about their faith. Then I was troubled. I didn’t have an answer.
My friend had asked me the question because he had recently heard me pray. While I was praying, he realized how much Jesus means to me and desired to believe—but wasn’t convinced yet—that there could be more to life. I assumed, in my dream, that the prayer made him realize that I actually believed that I was having a conversation with God: not just that I was petitioning, but that someone on the other side heard me, listened, and spoke back. This changed his perspective on faith in Jesus.
But a book of answers, like “What is Christianity?” or “Why did Jesus have to die?” wouldn’t be enough for him. And most of the books I could think of were too detailed or long. He needed an honest, succinct, and raw explanation of the radical work of the risen savior. He wasn’t asking me to define Christianity; he was asking to understand the mystery that is Jesus.
I awoke. I hadn’t answered his question, but my heart longed to help him. I began to think, “Why isn’t there a book out there that adequately explains the mystery of Christ at work in believers?” At first, I answered the question like a publisher, “Because Christians write books for Christians—their market.” But then I realized that there is a book that explains Jesus, in His fullness. I knew it all along. I talk about it everyday. The Bible should be the first book someone reads, always—and especially the Gospel of John.
We as Christians believe the Bible to be transformative, but do we really? We say the Spirit will bring someone to Christ, but do we pray like that’s the case? We know we should pray in all things, but how often do we? We all like sheep have gone astray. There is no end to the writing of many books. There is a savior that was led to the slaughter for all of us.
Who will call people to Jesus, if not us? Who will set an example, if we don’t?
There is only one book that can truly bring someone to God. Every other book that does so is a product influenced by that great book’s truth.
There is only one Spirit that can explain the mystery of God, and it has a way of bringing more mystery into our lives—a more urgent, pressing type of faith.
There is only one type of prayer that matters—the one we mean. I dreamed a dream. Are you dreaming one?