Do you have people in your life who seem lost? If so, you probably pray for them regularly, asking God to minister to them.
Perhaps you have been praying for these people for years and still haven’t seen a breakthrough in their hearts; it’s very tempting to look the other way when we don’t see any progress being made. But rather than truly giving up, God invites us to "give up" our cares and worries for these people and place them on Him (1 Peter 5:7).
This is a lesson God taught me a couple of years ago when I felt tempted to stop praying for a dear friend who was struggling in many areas of life. At one point, I became so frustrated that I candidly said to God, "It seems like every time You ask me to pray for this friend, things actually get worse. Are You teasing me? Will things ever actually get better?"
I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, I just genuinely wanted to understand why the situation seemed so dire even after much concentrated prayer.
Then that very weekend at church, a guest speaker preached a sermon about the attentiveness God shows to every lost soul.
Pastor Lucas Connell shared the incredible lengths God went to bring him to salvation. For years, the only Christian in his family, his aunt, specifically prayed for him every single day. Though Connell was addicted to drugs and leading some of his cousins in that same dark direction, his aunt never gave up hope on him, because God assured her that He would never give up on him.
One day, Connell called his aunt to thank her for a birthday card she had sent him in the mail. As soon as he heard her voice on the phone, he described that the Holy Spirit overcame him and he felt the very love of God Himself and years of his aunt’s prayers being poured over his entire being. He asked his aunt to help him invite Jesus into his heart that day, and his heart was instantly transformed.
He finished his testimony with a powerful takeaway: "One word from Heaven can break any chain," therefore we must never lose sight of the power of our prayers for lost souls.
I walked out of that message rejuvenated and hopeful; I knew it was God’s response to my desperate prayers. Some days later, I realized I had lost a diamond earring from a beautiful pair my uncle had given me the Christmas before. I searched everywhere I thought it could be, but it was nowhere to be found. Devastated, I was so convinced the earring was lost forever that I even asked a friend if her jeweler could try to match the earring I still had.
"God was whispering to my heart that I could come to Him for anything, things big and small."
She asked if I had prayed about finding the earring. I initially thought, "Is this really what I should be praying about when there are so many larger issues in my own life, much less the world, that I could be praying for?"
But the thought stuck with me, and when I got home I told God that even though the earring was small, it meant a lot to me and I’d be so grateful if He helped me find it. I then added that though I wanted to find my lost item, even more so, I just really wanted Him to help the lost souls in the earth, particularly my friend who I had been so worried about.
Days later, I accidentally knocked over the trash can in our bathroom. I picked it up and dumped the trash into our larger trash can in the kitchen, but when I went to return it, I noticed one stray tissue had fallen on the ground. As I knelt to pick it up, my heart skipped a beat ... something underneath the tissue was sparkling!
What were the chances that the single tissue that hadn’t been thrown away was the very one holding my missing earring?! Suddenly, the words from Matthew 10:29-31 ran through my mind: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
God was whispering to my heart that I could come to Him for anything, things big and small. He was showing me that if He cared enough to help me find this tiny earring – and He did – I couldn't even fathom all of the ways He was working in the life of my friend.
I was, and still am utterly amazed at the Father’s tender care. We serve a God so loving He not only listens to every single prayer, but allows us to witness His hand at work as He faithfully answers them.
We can rest in knowing that as the gospel song "Waymaker" states, "Even when we don’t see it, He’s working. He NEVER stops working."