My husband and I have several loved ones that are unsaved and we pray together daily for them. Some have been prayed for over 35 years with no sign showing a softening of their heart… It can be very discouraging when you see no change in such a dire situation for so long! Yet, we continue to be faithful in prayer, knowing that God is working in the lives of these precious souls.
Lately I have been called to study out the Parable of the Sower from Luke 8:5-15. It has been in two different devotionals and the focus of a recent sermon, God is sending me a message to dig deeper into this parable that JESUS taught and the only one that HE fully explained.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was trampled down and the birds ate it. Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn’t have good roots. Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop.”
….. Then JESUS explains:
“This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved. The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and at the moment there’s trouble it’s gone. And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun. But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.” The Message
Those we pray for to know JESUS Christ as their Lord and Savior are among the soil on the road, the gravel and the weeds. God is a gentleman, He will continue to knock on their hearts, but He will never force Himself on them, they have free will to make their own choices. We continue to pray and speak into their lives because we have HOPE that their hearts will one day soften.
In a recent sermon the pastor spoke of such hope, he shared the story of “Donna”, a sickly, elderly lady who had rejected God her whole life. Her sister kept inviting her to church and Donna finally gave in and started coming to church. She attended for some time without any noticeable heart change. Donna had lived her life in stubbornness and rebellion, she was “in control” and that is how she liked it. Donna had COPD and became increasingly ill and dependent on her oxygen tank, she was losing “control” of her health, that is when her heart began to soften…. At this particular church they have a baptismal fount behind the altar, baptisms are held throughout the year, but the invitation to be baptized is always open. One Sunday, after an invitation to give your heart to God, Donna made her way down the aisle and asked the pastor if she could be baptized right then. Her way was becoming the Lord’s way. The pastor immediately baptized her, a lifetime of stubborn rebellion washed away by the Grace of God! Within a short time, God took Donna home to be with HIM in eternity. Such a beautiful story, a huge answer to prayer for Donna’s loved ones, who I am sure had prayed for her most of her life.
God is faithful! My husband and I were so encouraged by Donna’s story, it has renewed our prayers for our loved ones that still have not answered JESUS knocking on the door to their heart. We will continue to be faithful…