Praying Through for Those Who Have Lost Their Way
Earlier, I mentioned that I had completed my Thanksgiving 2000 Trip Report for the ministry trip I made at Thanksgiving. A lot of that trip had an underlying theme of intercessory prayer and it comes out in my report. While I don’t want to give a lengthy exposition on the subject of intercessory prayer at this point because of space limitations, I do want to tell you of a revelation I had from scripture as to why I have been interceding for the people I have.
Currently, I have been praying on a nearly daily basis for sixteen people. I am talking about very serious prayer, unhurried and devoted, that is clearly directional and with a Godly goal I am claiming for each of them. The problem is that several of them are former believers and several of those are people who have since gotten into terrible lifestyles or had major personality changes that makes me wonder if the real person who occupied their mortal body was supplanted or displaced by something else. Many are deeply lost and either don’t know that I am praying for them or, if they did, probably wouldn’t understand why. I have managed to locate all but two of them through some “detective work” that I made a pet project of sorts once I knew that the Lord had directed me to set these ones apart for special, prayerful intercession.
Perhaps you have people like that for whom you pray. I want to encourage you that this is what the Lord desires, particularly if they are people who at one time had been active Christian believers who have since lost their way. One of the few comforts we have when we see people go off like this is to know that God has not given up on them if He is asking us to pray for them.
I told Tim last night that it is odd to me, but I guess it really isn’t if I think about it, that of the 16 people I am continually praying for, 6 of them are my age -- all born in 1943. Others were born in 1933, 1926, 1960 and only one in the 1980s -- 1981 in fact. They are all over the world. Most of them are over 40 but the majority of those are over 55! Why? I think the answer is simple: God has given me my generation to pray for, people I had known years ago when they knew the Lord, who since have strayed. But God never forgot them and I notice that I can’t forget them either.
Recently, one name came to me after 39 years of no contact and through a series of miracles I was able to locate him and his wife while I was on this trip Back East at Thanksgiving. The timing of my burden for them -- hearing his name spoken out of the blue while I was praying one day less than two months ago -- was just the time that their personal crises were starting to affect his physical health.
There are no accidents, no coincidences and no luck in God. Nothing happens by chance, as is supported by Romans 8:28: “For all things work together for God to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
The verses that encouraged me, and I hope will encourage you also as we wind up this year 2000, are these, as from “The Message” translation of James 5, the last paragraph:
“My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.”
In my detective work, I am happy to report that of those 14 I have been able to locate and finally meet, some have been restored to the Lord Jesus Christ and one other was introduced to Him for the first time. Let’s not write anyone off as lost until we have seen God’s final dealings in their life. I don’t believe God ever gives up on anyone. He didn’t on you, did He?