I suspect I speak to most believers—if not all of them. Many of us have unbelieving loved ones for whom we’ve been praying for years. In some cases – particularly as church leaders, for whatever reason – we’ve often carried that burden alone. We grieve the spiritual condition of others, but we do it in the privacy of our own lives.
My prayer is that this post changes that pattern.
I was not raised in a Christian home. I first heard the gospel from a seventh-grade classmate who loved me enough to share the gospel with me. He was passionate, persistent (obnoxious, actually, at times), and persuasive. When I became a believer at age 13, he and my pastor encouraged me to begin praying for my parents and family to become believers. So, I did.
For 36 years, in fact, before my dad chose to follow Christ.
He was 71 years old before he became a Christian, but the Lord radically changed him in the last three years of his life. He devoured the Scriptures, showed love to others, conquered his temper, and exhibited peace we had never before seen. The transformation was indeed amazing.
My mom, though she had seen the change in Dad did not choose to follow Christ . . . until this last week, that is.
In a dramatic display of God’s grace, He has saved my mom just like He did my dad. She’s 79 years old, and we’ve been praying for her for at least 47 years – but the change in her is just as obvious as it was with my dad. She put it in words this way: “That peace I saw in your dad, I now see in my own face when I look in the mirror.” That’s amazing, too.
Here’s my point: don’t give up on unbelieving loved ones. God’s clock and calendar may not be yours, but He’s still doing the work of saving people. Keep praying, and get others to join you in that work. God hears—even if He takes His time in responding.
We at Church Answers want to pray for you and your loved ones, too. Let us know how we might intercede for you and others.
This article was written by Chuck Lawless and originally published at churchanswers.com on April 15. Thom S. Rainer served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.