Thursday, July 28, 2016

Praying for What We Cannot See

Recently an acquaintance, the mother of three small children, received the devastating news that her cancer has spread too far; there is nothing more the doctors can do. They told her husband and her that she has a life expectancy of about six more months.


Many of my friends are very close friends with this family. Their immediate reaction was a strong show of support--hugs, cards, meals, a gift card shower, and at least two churches held special prayer meetings for her.

Before I get to my point, I want to say that I think this is the right response. We must not back away from those who are suffering. We need to draw a tight circle around them, find practical ways to show love, listen, encourage, and, of course, pray. "Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray...Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him." (James 5:13-14)

I believe in the power of prayer to God in Jesus name. I believe God is able to heal. I believe God wants us to ask Him for what is on our hearts.

What I question is why we are so mobilized to plead with the Lord to keep a suffering young Christian woman out of heaven for a few more years, but not to beg for the lost souls of our family and friends?

By all means, pray for the sick and suffering, for the unemployed, the poor, the homeless. Pray about which car to buy, which college to go to, for wisdom in raising your children, for your marriage, to get a husband or wife, for a sunny day for your event, for whatever is on your heart and mind, but entreat, beseech, implore, petition, and supplicate God for the people you know who are on their way to a lost eternity!

Jesus came and lived and died to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)  God "wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of truth." Paul wrote to Timothy, "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men...[to God] who desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1, 4)

Why do we pray so much for the sick and so little for the lost? I believe part of the answer is found at the end of 2 Corinthians 4. We should "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

But it's hard to look at what you can't see.


We can see a sick or dying friend. We can see the distress and suffering in their lives. But our unsaved family may be doing pretty well. Our neighbors don't seem to have any problems. And I can't see the flames of hell licking at their feet.

But heaven and hell are more real than the chair you are sitting on or the pain you are experiencing at this moment.

My friends, do not fail to pray for one another. But even more urgently, do not neglect praying for the unsaved. One question I like to ask people who have come to Christ after growing up in  a non-Christian home is, "Who was praying for you?" They always can name someone: a grandmother, an uncle, a neighbor, a friend.

Be that person.




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5 comments:

  1. It takes a special kind of attentiveness to see the unseen - Thank you for this call to pay attention to what really matters and what will last for eternity.

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    Replies
    1. It does and I write to remind myself as much as anyone else!

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    2. I agree, thank you for this post.

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  2. That last quote was very powerful! and your right this is a reality we are living in we don't die we either go to Heaven or Hell.

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  3. I went from Amen to Ouch in 30 seconds! Thank you for reminding us not to miss that we are also here for those who don't know Christ

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