I used to have a map of the world that I kept before me. I’d put my fingers on some of the islands—Australia, New Zealand, Okinawa, Formosa—and say, “Lord, let me win men for You in these places.” I was challenged to do this by Jer. 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (KJV). In the previous chapter Jeremiah had said to the Lord, “Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” Then just a few verses later He says, “All right, if you believe Me, call unto Me and I will answer.”
I asked a buddy, “Do you believe this verse?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “I do, too, but I’ve never seen these great and mighty things, and I’d like to.” So we started a prayer meeting every morning. We decided to meet at a certain spot, have a fire built and be in prayer by five o’clock. We prayed two hours on weekdays but met on Sundays to pray for our Sunday school boys by name. We prayed for Harbor City, Torrance, Long Beach, San Pedro, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and the surrounding cities.
The third and fourth weeks we started to include cities up the coast—San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, and Portland. We said, “Lord, use us in these cities.” By the fourth or fifth week we had covered every state in the Union. As we listed them we prayed, “Lord, use us to win young men to You in the State of Oregon. Use us to win young men in Massachusetts.” Every morning we prayed for every one of the forty-eight states. Then about the sixth week one of us said to the other something like this: “If we believe God is big enough to let us win men in every one of the forty-eight states, let’s go all out!”
We bought a world map and left it up in the Palos Verdes hills. Each morning we’d pull this old map out and pray that the Lord would use us in China and in Japan and in Korea. We claimed the promises as we prayed. At the end of forty-two days I felt a burden lift. We stopped asking God to use us and began thanking Him that He was going to do so. Then we discontinued our prayer meeting.
Three or four years later I came upon a list of names—Les Spencer from Illinois, John Dedrick of Texas, Gurney Harris from Arkansas, Ed Goodrick of Wisconsin. I discovered that men from every one of the forty-eight states had come to the Savior during those three or four years. God had answered, and these men were being trained as disciples. Then I thought of the world. “Why, Lord, am I permitted to have a part in this?” For the same reason you are.
Discipleship Journal, Issue 61 (January/February 1991) (NavPress, 1991).