Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prayer That Doesn't Give Up

                The Lord has blessed me with a beautiful family. I have a wonderful husband and two children whom I adore. Over the years my children have brought home other children, friends from school, friends from work, etc. These children have become like my own. I love them all so very dearly. I pray for them often, and I pray for their salvation, because not all of them are saved. There was a time in my life when I was the only Christian living in our home. My husband was not a Christian, and neither were my children. But the Lord didn’t give up on them, and He impressed upon me the importance of not giving up either. Many years I was in prayer for my husband’s salvation, and for many more years for my children. My husband is now saved and walking with the Lord, but not all my children are.

                Giving up is something that we find ourselves doing when we do not see the results right away. We pray, we seek, we ask and we pray some more, but the years go by and nothing happens. We see the roads they are taking and the struggles they are facing and pray that they will come to their senses and just cry out to the Lord. Over the years I have poured my heart and soul into these children. Summer after summer I would have anywhere from four to twelve children living with me, and I would talk to them about Jesus, tell them about the love He has for them, and pray that they would come to the knowledge of who He is. Through the school years many would stay for months on end because of troubles at home or no home to go to and I would always give them Jesus. There were times when I wanted to give up, and there were times that I did. But, the Lord never let me forget them in my prayers.

                “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
                Today I have the privilege to still be a part of these children’s lives. Most of them have grown up in my home. Some of them came from broken homes, and were wounded and needed love when they came to me. Some have families and they are close to those families, but they always managed to find their way back to me and their second home. They are all grown now, living in various parts of the country, going to college, working full time jobs and setting out into new careers. But they always manage to call me when times get tough. Why? Because I refused to give up on them, I refused to let my prayers for their salvation wane. I made sure they knew how much I loved them through the prayers that I have prayed for them over the years.    

                James tells us that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  This was something that I clung to as I waited and waited for my prayers for my husband to be answered. This was a promise that I held onto as I watched child after child leave my home and go off into the world. Not all of them are saved, not all of them are walking with the Lord, but my hope is still there, my heart still cries out to the Lord for them, day after day. I have not, and I will not give up.
                So many times we tell people that we will pray for them, or they ask us to pray for them. But, unfortunately, I do not think we take it seriously. James tells us that we must confess our trespasses to one another, and then pray for one another. When one of my kids, whether my own flesh or the ones who have adopted me as mom, come to me and tell me they have messed up, I begin by praying for them. They come to me and they confess to me openly that they have made some mistakes and need some help. There have been some tough issues we have faced together, but I never once wanted them to feel like they couldn’t come to me. I listened, and we prayed. A few of them call me now and ask me to pray for them and to pray with them. Because they know I will.
                If I would not have taken their confession seriously, then my prayers for them would not have been serious either. How many times have we had a brother or sister in the Lord ask us for prayer and we say, “Okay, I will pray for you.” But then walk away and forget to pray at all. James tells us that when someone comes to us and confesses openly their faults, their slip ups, their offenses or their sins, we are to pray for them. We are to go before God and ask for their restoration and health. The word that James uses for healing means not only physical healing, but spiritual healing as well. He refers to a whole healing of body and soul. We must pray to God for those who have fallen into sin, and pray for the Lord to heal them of the sin, which is the greatest most deadly disease of all.

                Pastor Chuck Smith preached that the effectual prayer does not stop, it does not give up. It keeps praying even when we do not see the results. I have prayed for years for my children to come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior, all my children. Some are beginning to come around, some are beginning to hear the gospel and all the things I have spoken to them over the years and are beginning to see the glory that is found in Jesus Christ, but some of them are still wandering. But I have not and I will not give up. An effectual prayer is one that keeps on praying. Jesus tells us that we are to ask, seek and knock. (Matthew 7:7) We are to keep on asking, we are to keep on seeking, and we are to keep on knocking. If we do this, then results will come. They may not come when we expect them, they may not even happen in our lifetime, but God hears and God answers according to His will, not ours.
                The fervent prayer of a righteous man is prompted from within. The Holy Spirit working in us for the sake of others will cause us to come before God and cry out for those of whom we are to pray. This happened to me this morning. I was praying for my children and the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray specifically for one of my girls. She is in college and I haven’t heard from her in a while. So I bowed my heart and prayed for her, for the Lord God to be with her. I did not start out by praying for her specifically, but as a whole, the Lord however knows something I do not, and asked me to pray for her more diligently today. So today, she will be on my heart and I will pray consistently for her.

                We all have those moments when the Lord brings someone to our remembrance, or He puts a burden so to speak upon our hearts for certain people. This is the fervent prayer the Lord wants you to pray. This is the Holy Spirit leading you to pray for the person He has placed on your heart. They don’t have to know you are praying for them for the prayer to be heard, the Lord knows and He hears. Prayers for our brothers and sisters in the Lord should not be taken so lightly. If someone asks you to pray for them, then pray for them right then and there. Some of the greatest prayers ever prayed were only three words in length. God hears and God sees our hearts for the people we love, for the unsaved family members, for our children, for our brothers and sisters in the Lord who are hurting. It is up to us to pray about it.
                David Guziak states, “Much of our prayer is not effective simply because it is not fervent. It is offered with a lukewarm attitude that virtually asks God to care about something that we care little about. Effective prayer must be fervent, not because we must emotionally persuade God, but because we must gain God’s heart by being fervent for the things He is fervent for.” We give up so quickly because we do not see results, when God is telling us to keep pressing forward, keep praying. Do not give in just because it has not happened yet, keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking. I prayed daily for five years that my husband would come to know Jesus Christ, I prayed diligently for my mother for six years to come to know the Lord and finally, after much prayer the days happened. I am still praying for my sister, my nieces, my nephews as well as other friends and family members, and I believe God for them all.

                I may never see the children I love come to know Christ, but that will not stop me from praying for them. Because my hope is not in what I see, it is in Jesus Christ who died for me and for them. I know the Lord desires that all men and women and children be saved, and I believe that it is through the effective, fervent prayers of His children that salvation will come to many. Don’t give up. No matter who it is you are praying for, don’t give up. Keep asking, keep seeking and keep praying. The children that the Lord has given me are not mine, He has placed them in my life for a purpose and a reason, and I will not give up on them. He loves them, and the least I can do is pray for them. Amen. Don’t give up.

*This is dedicated to ALL my children, you know who you are. I love you, and I pray daily for the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal His love, His mercy, His grace and His salvation to each one of you. I pray the Lord would guard your hearts, keep you safe and pour out blessings of mercy and grace upon each and every heart that I have been given the privilege to be a part of. Jesus loves you more than you will ever know. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.