Michael Sattler was not surprised by his sentenceto have his tongue cut out and then to be burned as a heretic. It was the sixteenth century, and Michael was Anabaptist, a movement of believers who wanted to return to a New Testament form of church. However, Europes religious and social institutions saw the Anabaptists as a threat.
A crowd of onlookers began to gather in the marketplace. One of the bystanders was twenty-five-year-old Klaus von Grafeneck, who stood close to the convict, watching the executioner prepare for Michaels impending death.
Michael began to pray despite his then-slurred speech, Dear Lord, open the eyes of this young man . . .
Klaus suddenly jumped back, in shock that this criminal was praying for him!
As the executioner bound Michael, the prisoner turned to the crowd and in garbled speech said, Be ye converted! Then he closed his eyes and prayed: Almighty, eternal God . . . I will . . . on this day testify to the truth and seal it with my blood.
With that, the executioner threw Michael into the fire. When the ropes on his hands were burned through, he raised them into the air and prayed, Father, I commend my spirit into thy hands.
Klaus was so touched by the condemned mans prayer for him that he recorded Sattlers death as a tribute. He concluded it by writing: May God grant us also to testify of him so bravely and patiently.
Prayer is a Christians secret weapon. It makes a silent statement or an open overture about ones faith in Christ. When Klaus heard a condemned man pray, it made him stop and think. Likewise, when others in a restaurant see us bless our meals before we eat, we may also cause them to stop and consider God. Even if we capture peoples thoughts for a mere moment and turn their minds toward Christ, we have done our duty. As Michael proved with Klaus, prayer changes lives and inspires commitment. However, God cant use the prayers you dont offer. Take some time to offer a silent prayer for the benefit of someone you meet today. You never know what will happen as a result.
Daily Devotional from VOM Oct. 17