When you’re praying for family members to come to faith, do you ever feel like the prayers just go into a big black hole somewhere? And nothing happens? And it just keeps hurting, knowing that they’re missing out on the best and biggest source of help for their lives? Are you aching for your husband, wife, or kids to have the deep peace, real purpose, true wisdom, and sense of hope and worth that you have found in Christ? Do you feel that years of potential fruitfulness for Him are being wasted? I might be drawing these many questions from my own current experience; you never know.
God doesn’t waste time
I’ve been praying for my close, dear ones with a fervent and longing heart for years. My precious adult children, mainly, but also my brothers and other relatives. Maybe you’ve been praying for your spouse, parents, or siblings to come to know Jesus. Sometimes I feel a little despair about any change coming. But then God will send me an encouraging message through the Bible or through other people. Like when a friend from my LifeGroup reminded me that God doesn’t waste time because He doesn’t waste anything. God knows all about what’s going on and has plans I can’t see yet. He aches with me in the meantime.
Not only have I been praying for family to have their eyes opened, but I’ve been praying about my own attitude toward waiting on God to answer my prayers! How do I maintain a godly, peaceful, joyful attitude while I’m so sad that my loved ones are far from the Lord, not seeking His help, and headed who knows where?
I recently came across a perfect Scripture for this situation, conveying to me that God knows exactly how I feel.
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? … Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. … But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. Psalm 13:2-3, 5 NLT
6 Things to Do When You’re Praying For Family Members Who Seem Far From Faith
- Depend on God’s power and mercy. Dwell on His merciful plans and His power to save anyone, no matter how far off they seem.
- Trust God’s wisdom and timing. Depend on God’s character, wisdom, and timing, all of which are way better than ours.
- Keep the doors open. Keep channels of loving communication wide open, and be kind, welcoming, and patient, like God.
- Look for the Spirit’s work. It’s God’s Spirit who draws people, opens their minds, and softens their hearts, not our persuasive speeches. It’s real love that is attractive. And that we can do!
- Keep praying. Keep praying, hoping, and trusting! Focus on growing your own faith and relationship with God. Press on, no matter what!
- Rejoice. Through the ongoing sorrow over a loved one’s current spiritual state without God, be glad for at least four reasons:
- Because you are redeemed. That’s why you care so much because you know the difference between knowing God and not knowing Him.
- Because of any other family members who are believers.
- Because you’re blessed if you’re insulted for Christ.
- Because God has great promises for you. Like Isaiah 43:5 NLT: Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west. And, if it feels like you’ve lost years of potential joy and peace, Joel 2:25 ESV: I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten …
If you and I feel anguish and grief as we’re praying for family members who are still lost, imagine how much more God feels it. He’s got a lot more straying children than we do. But His mercy, wisdom, and patience are great, and He doesn’t want anyone to be lost! So while we’re waiting for Him to guide our dear ones to surrender to His love, let’s keep our hearts soft and our eyes on Him.