Way back in 1965, when I first became a follower of Jesus, so did most of my family of seven. In fact, six of the seven of us came to faith in Jesus within about four months of each other. The only one who didn’t meet Christ that year was my oldest brother, Chris. He was working and in college at the time.
But I remember starting to pray for him that summer. I prayed for him just about every day that year…and the next…and the next. I would pray for him when I went to bed and again when I woke up in the morning. I would dream about praying for him and seeing him become a Christ-follower.
Meantime, my brother joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Vietnam as an officer. I kept praying. He came home on leave after his first tour of duty. I remember hearing my mother and father sharing Jesus with him in our living room. We all wanted him to meet Christ. Instead, he re-uped for another tour in Vietnam. So, we all kept praying.
When he came home after his second tour of duty, life in the U.S. was different. There were anti-war protests and campus riots. We were a country torn apart by that war half a world away. And we were tearing at each other internally. Add to that the reverse culture shock my brother began to feel moving from poverty-stricken and war-torn Vietnam to the wealthy U.S., and you had the makings of a man with lots of questions about life.
My dad was involved at the time in a group called Christian Business Men’s Committee (CBMC). They were having a Christmas dinner for men at which an African-American evangelists, Sam Dalton, was speaking. My brother went with my dad that night…and came home a follower of Jesus.
That was my first real experience seeing someone I loved and had prayed for come to faith in Jesus. It was not to be my last.
Truth is, Christ-like love prays. It prays for everyone we are called to love—family, friends, even enemies. Jesus prayed for us before we were even saved (see John 17:20ff), just because He loves us. We tend to pray for people we love. It’s just something God puts in our hearts the more we know the love of Jesus.
Last week when we talked about motivation for sharing Christ with spiritually disconnected people, love was foremost. Love was why God sent Jesus. And love is why Jesus gave his life. So as the love of Christ permeates our hearts more and more, praying for people we know who need Jesus will punctuate our days and nights.
Here’s today’s challenge: write down the names of five people you know who need Jesus. Put that list of names someplace where you will see it daily and be reminded to pray for them lovingly. Then watch what God does as He answers your prayers and captures their hearts with His love.
Did you ever wondered who was praying for you before you surrendered to Jesus? I found a partial answer to that during my brother’s wedding several years later to my now sister-in-law, Gayle. Gayle’s father, Larry, had died of multiple sclerosis (MS) several years earlier. He had also been a partner in the law firm my dad began here in Spokane back in the late 1940’s.
During the wedding service, the officiating pastor relayed a story none of us knew. He had been in multiple prayer meetings with Larry (Gayle’s dad) when Larry had prayed for the salvation of one of his law partners and that partner’s family. That man was my father, Nelson. And that family was mine!
Love prays for the lost. So let’s all start praying afresh for at least five unsaved people we know. Our prayers will change this life and eternity.
Still praying...in love,