My Grace-Full Life

Praying For Loved Ones

Around 331 AD, a woman named Monica was born.  Monica didn’t lead a particularly happy life, but nonetheless, she was a very devout woman of faith.  She was married to an abusive husband and had several children, including a son named Augustine.  Augustine was the very definition of a problem child — he wanted nothing to do with his mother’s faith in God.  He had affairs and a child out of wedlock.  She prayed for him for years and cried countless tears over him.  A bishop encouraged her by saying, “the child of those tears shall never perish.”  It took 17 years, but her son Augustine finally changed his ways and became a Christian.
The bishop was right — when he said “the child of those tears shall never perish,” he was effectively reminding Monica that God heard her prayers.

The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.  ~Proverbs 15:29
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  ~James 5:16

Sometimes, when we pray for something repeatedly — we may feel that God isn’t listening.  What is taking so long???  But what we have to remember is that 1) God’s ways aren’t our ways, and neither is His timing.  And 2) if our requests to God line up with His will, then He will answer them.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  ~2 Peter 3:9

Because we can trust that God’s will is for ALL PEOPLE to come to a saving grace, then of course, Monica’s prayers were heard and ultimately, answered.  As long as our prayers line up with God’s will and commandments, we can be certain they will be heard and eventually answered.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  ~1 John 5:14

Are you praying for someone to find salvation through Jesus?  Or are you praying for someone to be restored to fellowship with God?
Not too long ago, I was the subject of many of those kinds of prayers.  I know my mom and grandparents have prayed many of them for me over the years.
My grandmother called me last night.  She’s spending the winter with her brother and I haven’t seen her since September; I miss her very much.  I haven’t really discussed my recommitment with her in depth, and since I can’t sit down with her face-to-face right now, I decided to print off all these blog posts I’ve been writing and mail them to her at my great-uncle’s house.  She got them yesterday and after reading about half the stack, she called me and told me that she was proud of me.
While these blogs aren’t about me, these are all meant to honor my Savior, Jesus Christ, her words were a balm to my soul.  Because like Monica, my grandmother has prayed over my wayward soul for the better part of 24 years.  I was so happy that I could tell her that her prayers and perseverance on my behalf were heard and have been answered.
So, when you wonder if your prayers are being heard or when they will be answered, rest in the faith…  I am living proof He hears you.  I know that countless prayers and tears have been shed on my behalf and God didn’t ignore my family; He heard them and eventually, got through to me.
If God has asked you to wait, trust that He has His reasons.  If you’re praying for someone to come to the saving grace of Jesus, or to come to a spiritual reconciliation, then pray with faith and with patience.  Remember John 3:16-17:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

He didn’t send His Son to earth for only a few people.  He sent His Son for ALL people throughout the world, including your loved one that you’re praying for.
As we approach Christmas in a few weeks, perhaps you have a few  Christmas gifts wrapped under your tree.  If you’re anything like me, hanging on to the secret is torture.  I’m always as excited about GIVING a gift as I am about receiving one, especially when it comes to buying gifts for my mom…  I have always enjoyed finding presents for her but I almost always ruin them ahead of time by telling her what they are…  because I can’t stand waiting and keeping the secret!  I want her to KNOW what’s in that pretty package under the tree!
Similarly, I’ve found that the act of waiting on a loved one to discover faith in Jesus Christ to be as difficult as keeping my mother’s Christmas presents a surprise.  Because salvation is a gift.  It’s a simple package and I’m sure you’re beyond excited for your loved one to pick it up and open the gift.  But maybe they are distracted by something else, or they aren’t listening to you as you tell them they need open it.  And in the meantime, you’re on the edge of your seat, waiting… waiting…  and perhaps waiting some more.  All they need to do is reach out and take it!  You know that inside that present, they will find the greatest gift they will ever receive.  And you can’t wait for them to open it!
The gift is from God.  And it’s a gift He has offered to each one of us.  If you’re praying for a loved one to accept His gift, I promise, He hears you.  He wants your loved one to reach out and take that gift too!  Pray believing that they will soon reach out and accept it.  It may not happen according to your timing, but ultimately, it is their decision to open it.
Pray in faith.  God is in control and covets your loved one’s soul for His kingdom too.
And remember — God loves your loved one even more than you do.
Now that I am back in fellowship with God, I am sending up my own prayers on behalf of loved ones — that they too will open the present from God…  That they will develop an unquenchable thirst to know and serve our Almighty Creator.  It’s hard to wait, but I pray consistently every day, believing that God is hearing my prayers and trusting that even if I don’t see progress, He is at work.  I will pray for you too, that you will have the patience to wait on God’s timing, and the faith that when your prayers line up with God’s will, He will answer!

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You again for sending Your Son to die for my sins.  When He rose from the dead, He made it possible for me and the rest of the world to have eternal life with You in heaven.  All we have to do is accept the gift of salvation!  Thank You for those loved ones who believed first — the ones like my Mom and grandparents — who pray for our souls, that we will ALL accept Your gift and be restored to fellowship with You.  Thank You that You hear the fervent prayers of those who believe in You. You don’t care about our riches or popularity; You are only concerned with our hearts that come to You in a pure desire to know You, love You, and trust You.   Thank You for loving us with an unconditional, never-ending love!  

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