Atheist startled when God spoke through his prayer


Houston | atheist turned believerBy Michael Ashcraft —

As he left behind childhood Vacation Bible School and studied for a degree in electrical engineering, Clay Lein lost his faith in God.

“I had a very rational mind. It had to be logical. I needed proof. There had to be evidence. And if there wasn’t proof then it was just something people made up,” Lein told KHOU Channel 11 News in Houston. “Part of the training for engineers is to be skeptical, to demand data, to want to see evidence.”

He married, got an MBA and launched a successful career at Intel. All his achievements and the world that surrounded him seemed very concrete and observable. There was no need to believe in something intangible that required you to suspend your scientific mind, he reasoned.

Why would I need God? I mean, if he even existed why would I have any need for him, he thought.

But his wife pleaded with him to attend church, and he acquiesced because he thought “church was a place nice people go.” All the while he tactfully but firmly let people know he was an atheist.

Then he volunteered at a youth camp and that’s when his skepticism got shattered.

He was asked to pray publicly.

Put on the spot without any preparation, Lein got nervous. But he quickly figured he could keep up appearances by drawing on his childhood memories from Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. He would fake his way through the prayer.

But as he began to pray, something very unusual happened. Words oddly began to flow naturally from his mouth, without him needing to conjure up any memories whatsoever.

The Holy Spirit took over and directed his prayer for each child! By the time he was done, a simple prayer had extended to 15 minutes. And it hit the mark.

clay leinOne girl was so deeply moved that she began crying.

“In between the sobs she begins to share that her uncle was abusing her,” he recalls. “And that she hadn’t been able to tell anybody else until that moment. That’s when I think something clicked for me.”

Suddenly, “God was relevant and He really wanted to do amazing things in my life,” Lein says. “I became a Christian that day. And I heard a voice, and it wasn’t Charleton Heston, it was more a thought that comes up and often times it sounds like Clay’s voice but it was definitely God. And it said, ‘Try me.'”

This experience didn’t fit into a neat scientific box, measurable by instrumentation or by the five senses. But it was evidence nevertheless that completely upended his skepticism.

Lein began thinking about how God had changed that teenager’s life in just 15 minutes. What would happen if he gave God more than 15 minutes?

“A question I had for God: if you can do that with my life, if I get out of my way for just 15 minutes, what could You do with my whole life if I got out of Your way with all of it?” he recalls.

Lein launched into a new path for his life. He enrolled in seminary and was ordained an Episcopalian minister in 1996.

Clay Lein | atheist saved by GodHe served as a deacon in South Carolina and as the rector at a church in Plano, Texas. In 2002, he helped start a new congregation in Frisco, north of Dallas, and it now has 1,400 members. Most recently, he was named rector of the 4,000-member Church of St. John the Divine in Houston.

The display sign outside the church declares: “Changing lives for God in Christ.”

“I’m a poster child” for that declaration, he says. “If God can change me, He can change anybody.”


If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here


    • I certainly believe that God calls us out of the darkness of sin in various ways and brings us to His Son for our redemption. But to say that God speaks to us daily is risky. What does He say to you? Does He speak to you in concrete, specific ways? What if I told you God has spoken to me and He asks me to hate you and kill you? I suppose you will say that God would not say that as it contradicts His Word. So why not just depend on His Word?

      But if you mean that God speaks to you in a more general way, such as, His manifesting His glory and love in His creation – the beauty of the morning, the melody of the chirping birds, the laughter of children – that’s a different thing altogether.

      I just fear that if mature Christians speak carelessly, newer Christians will take it as a warrant to follow their own half-baked theology.

    • Thank you for sharing this, it has given me ammunition to share with others, may God speak as tenderly and clearly to them in the next few hours. Thank you and God bless you.

  1. God just needs an opening to transform a whole life. A great testimony that God will use to transform many lives.

  2. I have a similar problem. Christians not believing I hear from God. They try telling me God has not spoken to anyone since biblical times (end of the Bible, which ends with Revelations), but of course God talks to us! When we meditate (Christians), is it NOT to HEAR from God? Amazing story!!!! Very inspiring!

  3. God courted me with the Holy Spirit too. I too was a rational raised in church person who did not accept salvation, was not much for church or religion at all. It was amazing how it happened and you can’t explain it. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. I am an engineer, I am very logical and practical, and I love “data”. I am also a Christian, and I see all sorts of evidence and “proof” of God’s existence and His love for me ALL the time! It is all around us, in God’s amazing creation and in His people. We just need to look for Him. People need to stop denying Him just because He doesn’t fit into a neat (and very little) box.

      • Ha! We’re in the same boat. I have two brothers, a dad and various nephews that are engineers. One nephew graduated college and was hired with NASA! I’m like…wha??? Of course, I’m a literary major graduate. I correct their grammar all the time. 🙂

  5. I believe it! That is pretty amazing! God loves everyone of us and wants to be apart of everyone of our lives. He loves it when we have a close relationship him. The Lord wants us to follow him and put our trust in him. 🙂

  6. God speaks to me all the time through music, prayers, dreams, people, etc… I just recently was doing healing prayer through my church for help with feeling loved. God distinctly put a vision of a woman in a pure white dress over and over in my mind during the prayer session. Then I watched the movie God’s not dead and they distinctly talked about the cinderella syndrome and how God is the only true Love, we can depend on. Then I went to a praise in motion dance class and we were told throughout the class to ask God what we were to give up to him and have him help us heal. As soon as I stepped in my car the song “God’s not dead” was playing on my radio and the very next song was “your love is a song” by switchfoot….I know God is talking to me!!! Thank you God

  7. People might change their minds about God speaking to you, if they were almost in an accident, but it was as if a brick wall suddenly popped up between you and the car behind you. Yes, that happened to me, however, I have been a believer all of my life, yet when things like that happen it is still a very very pleasant surprise and tells you, hey you haven’t been spending enough time in God’s Word!!! God loves you, no matter who you are or what you may have done and wants you back with Him. This is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to bring you back into the fold. Jesus is God Incarnate!!! 3 in one!

  8. Yes God does and will speak to you and through you in that still small voice that only you hear and he can use your mouth if you just open it and allow him to fill it. Not you but him. The bible says plainly that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. If you say you are a christian but believe he is deaf, dumb and mute you are not only denying his power but basically saying the bible is lying. If you think about it. He is unlimited in all things. The devil has tricked people into thinking he has all this power and makes them afraid which is the biggest lie he’s told yet. Anything he does to us as a say chastisement from God if we have done something we shouldn’t have. (God chastises those he loves) (Like when you correct a child) anyway he has to have permission from God. You can find this in Job when he would keep asking God for permission to test Job’s faith to curse him if he took his children, home, gave him boils, etc… Never the less, he had to ask. And God placed limits and told him not to take his life. We’re not to fear the devil or his lies.

    • you are so right. My pastor taught a message just like this. Thank you for knowing your BIBLE!!! I have starting reading my Bible every day!!! I know it’s the best book I’ve ever read.

    • Julie,
      I’ll be agreeing with you that “the Father of glory would reveal Jesus in an intimate way to him. That the eyes of his heart would be flooded with Light, so he would know the hope he’s been called to” from Eph 1;17,18. I’m so glad the Lord loves our children infinitely more than we do, and has plans for giving them a future and a hope! Praying His Word for your son, and knowing it is active and powerful!

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