Finding the right questions is as crucial as finding the right answers,” says devotional writer Henri Nouwen. Yet how easy it is to run ahead of God’s Spirit as we talk to nonbelievers about Christ, giving pre-packaged answers before we listen to their questions.

This tendency was highlighted several years ago when someone scrawled the words “Christ is the answer!” on the side of a building. A cynical passerby added these words: “What is the question?”

Paul and Silas, thrown into prison for the gospel’s sake, provoked a deep spiritual question in the heart of their jailer. This wasn’t achieved, however, by preaching a three-point sermon at him. Instead, they prayed and sang hymns to God. When an earthquake opened the prison doors and broke their chains, the jailer tried to kill himself, fearing that he would be put to death if his prisoners escaped. But Paul and Silas stopped him by choosing to stay in prison for his sake. At this he cried out, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

Today, as then, the Spirit will create the right questions in people’s hearts and make them ready for the right answer—Jesus Christ.