I’m sure like me, there is someone in your life you are desperately praying for because of the choices they are making or have made. Maybe it’s a brother or sister who has drifted away from faith. Perhaps it’s a child who, having left home or at college, is hanging out with a less than desirable group of friends. It can be heartbreaking and troubling.
And again, if you’re like me, you are praying for them.
Sometimes though, doubt and despondency seep in. It can seem like our prayers will never make a difference. So, I want to encourage you with three truths from scripture that you can hold onto and that will spur you on.
Don’t give up. These words come straight from the mouth of Jesus. We are encouraged to persevere in our prayers. In the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus tells the story of a woman who kept coming to the judge with the same plea. What I like about this story is how Jesus emphasized that although the judge was corrupt, he still did the right thing concerning this woman. How much more will God who is upright and pure, answer our prayers. God does not grow weary of our asking, and we can trust him with our requests.
God changes hearts
God can change the hardest heart. Sometimes a person can seem so far from God, we wonder if they will ever turn towards him. We have to remember two things. One is that only God knows the condition of a person’s heart. The second is that God can remove hearts of stone and make them soft—willing to follow God rather than turn away from God. He has done this for you and me. No one is a lost cause. Keep hoping. Keep praying and believe God will work a miracle.
God cares as much as you do for your child, your relative, and your friend. In fact, he cares far more because he was willing to send his Son to die for each and everyone of us. And in particular, God cares for those who are lost.
Jesus told three stories—they come one after the other in Luke 15 (how about that for emphasis?) The stories remind us that God is searching for those who are lost, including the person you care about.
In the story of the lost son, his father “saw him from a long way off.” The father had been on the lookout — morning, afternoon, and evening — day after day to see if his son would return. How long did he do this? Well, it probably took more than a few days for the son to squander his wealth. So, we must keep praying, maybe for weeks, months, or even years. Then what a celebration it will be. And God is willing to search for and rescue the one who is lost because, like the woman who searched for her coin, each person is valuable to him.
I realize sometimes we don’t see the change we hope for. Sometimes the prodigal doesn’t come home. My prayer for you is that God will give you peace of mind and heart in these situations. Keep praying, and never give up.