2008-05-21 - Persevering Prayers
1 John 5:15, "And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him."
It is common for those who rest in Christ for all their hope and trust, to have close members of their family who do not share the convictions of their faith. This can be distressing, to say the least, to the one who trusts the Lord. Hours of prayer, pools of tears and anxiety, are all a part of the experience of having those we dearly love and care about only a breath away from eternal separation from God, his wrath, and a Christ-less eternity. It seems that this is the situation almost all of us know too well. Almost everyone has someone they dearly love who stands on the brink of eternity without forgiveness from sin and eternal life with Christ. I want to encourage you to continue to pray for those you love and care about. Don't give up. We never know how the Lord is using us, or might be using us. This can be true, as the story below will illustrate, even when we don't feel that the Lord is using us. Continue to pray and plead with the Lord for those you love. As long as the Lord gives you breath, use those breathings to breathe out supplications before the Throne of Grace on behalf of those you love.
There was, years ago, a godly man, a father, who had several (5 or 6 as the story goes) sons who did not profess faith in Christ. In fact, they all lived lives quite contrary to the things of Christ. Their father prayed for them without ceasing, and had hopes that the Lord might use him to reach them. Even when he came to die, his hopes and prayers that his death might be used of the Lord to break through to them continued. As he lay there, he called them to his bedside, but his experience in dying was extreme.
He lost his fellowship with God in it, lacked assurance of salvation, and was filled with doubt and fear. His constant thought was that instead of his death being a testimony of God's mercy and grace, it would help win his sons for Christ and that he would only confirm their convictions against Christ. He thought his death and fears of dying would only lead his sons to think there was nothing in his faith worth following.
The effect was just the opposite. He did die. When he was buried and his sons returned to his home, at the grave the oldest son said to his brothers, "My brothers, throughout his lifetime our father often spoke to us about religion and we have always despised it, but what a sermon his deathbed has been to us! For if he who served God so well and lived so near to God found it so hard a thing to die, what kind of death may we expect ours to be who have lived without God and without hope?" All the brothers felt the same, and in this manner, the father's death became the answer to his prayers for his sons.
We cannot know how the Lord is using us at any given time. We may be surprised, in eternity, to find how many of our failings, in our view, were used to His glory. The Lord works as He is pleased; and He has promised to hear our prayers. "We know that He hears us," 1 John 5:15. Continue to pray for those you love. Continue to plead your cause for those you love before God's merciful throne of grace. We never know how He may be pleased to use us to answer those deepest longings of our own hearts.
Soli Deo Gloria,