Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart. Psalm 27:14
I (JCD) know of a mother and father who prayed for their three children before they were born and who continue to speak daily to the Lord on their behalf. Yet their middle daughter has chosen to reject their faith. She lives with a twice-divorced man and has no intention of marrying him. She has had at least two abortions, and her language is offensive. Angry and frustrated, these parents wrote to me, asking about their “ineffective” prayers.
Our prayers do unleash the power of God in the lives of others. We have the privilege, and the responsibility, of entering into intercessory prayer for our loved ones and holding their names and faces before the Father. In return, God makes the all-important choices crystal clear to those individuals and brings positive influences into their lives. But He will not force Himself on anyone. A person must choose to repent and believe in the name of Christ to claim the gifts of forgiveness and salvation.
To put it another way, the Lord will not save a man or woman against their will—but He has a thousand ways to make them more willing. That’s why we mustn’t blame God when our prayers seem to go unanswered—and why we “should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1), anticipating the moment our loved ones finally and joyfully turn to Him.
Before you say good night…
- Are you ever discouraged by what seems to be ineffective prayer?
- Do you pray consistently even when you don’t see immediate results?
- Are you teaching your children to do the same?
Dear Father, in our impatience, we sometimes become discouraged that our prayers seem to go unanswered. Yet we know that You are always listening and always at work! Help us to remain faithful, to pray without ceasing, and to never give up on our loved ones who so desperately need to come to You. Amen.
• From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson