It was 1968. His Excellency President Suharto of Indonesia kindly received me — an unforgettable meeting. This man, with his gracious personality and a Mona Lisa smile, looked at me and asked, “Are you here to proselytize Muslims to Christianity?”
The question didn’t lend itself to a glib answer.
I responded, “Excellency, I should like the high honor of presenting Jesus Christ as a viable option for effective living — the same Jesus who, in the Quran, is more prominent than any other single personality.”
I then led in prayer and left.
God gave me the opportunity to meet with President Suharto on nine different occasions. On the fourth visit, I thought to myself, “I am his guest. Perhaps I am being rude and too pushy in suggesting we have prayer.” So I left on that occasion without having prayer.
When I returned to my room, I immediately changed into my pajamas. I heard a knock at the door. I was surprised to find President Suharto’s protocol chief, General Widya Latief, at my door. “The President very much appreciates you having prayer with him every time,” Latief said. “Maybe you will come sometime to Pelambung in Sumatra to make a ‘big preach.’”
I felt duly chastened, and I asked the Lord to forgive me for my dereliction. On each subsequent occasion, I had the joy of leading in prayer this leader of the fourth largest nation in the world. The same happened with Madame Indira Gandhi of India and with President Sadat of Egypt.
May God keep me true to the Lord Jesus. May I experience a continuing renewal of uncompromising fidelity to the One “in whom we live and move and have our being.”