When praying for someone to be saved I’ve often earnestly asked that God would bring another person into their lives to point them to Himself – a friend, a coworker, a chance acquaintance.
There are so many influences in a person’s life, some of which will draw them into unhealthy situations with dire consequences; and so this prayer, a good one, is made up of words that fall easily off my lips: “Lord, bring them good influences.”
Recently I was praying this very valid prayer for someone when I recalled what it was like for me in the days before I gave my life to Jesus; actually, not just days, but weeks, months, and years. The desire to do this very thing didn’t come from any of the influences in my life – because none of those pointed to Him; it came from within me, from the knowledge I already had.
It came from His Word already buried in my heart.
I knew His Word from years of prior exposure to it. Remembrances of verses, conversations, and emotions were buried within me, calling to me for them to give me the peace and direction that I craved. As my life deteriorated, or spiraled, (depending on what angle you were looking at it from), the hunger I had for a life I knew was within my reach – all I had to do was ask for it – continued to grow.
That desire was present with me for seventeen months before I actually made the decision to jump in. During that time no-one could tell from the outside that I was struggling to lay down my way of doing life and to go all in for Jesus. No one could tell because I didn’t say a word of it to them. I partied, dined out, traveled, moved, laughed and drank, and even did some drugs, but inside of me the steering wheel was turning, navigating me towards home. I could tell; but no-one else knew.
This memory has been on my heart in the last few days. At a service over the Easter weekend this year I remembered what it was like to live in those seventeen months, the deep burning inside me that I now know was Jesus calling me back to Himself. How I refused Him over and over, again and again, and just kept going my way. The sadness that I carried, the desire for a better life, and oh how I missed Jesus – talking with Him, spending time in His company, feeling so accepted and loved, and hearing Him just speak into my heart – these were very real , inner experiences for me.
These recollections have given me compassion for people who I know must be in this very place that I once was. There is a stirring taking place in people’s hearts all over the world right now as Jesus is calling people back to Himself. Prayers for loved ones, friends, family, and even strangers, are being answered. With our eyes we can’t see it, but with our faith we can feel it. I mean, if Jesus could take my life and turn it around – not just my actions, but also my thoughts and my perspectives – He can do that for anyone!
Because of the memory of my own experience, I’m adding to my prayer that the Word hidden in the hearts of the people I’m praying for will rise up within them and turn their steering wheels back to Jesus, where their true home is – where they will find peace and purpose; where they can live free of shame and guilt, and be able to approach God with confidence and humility, and find true freedom.
The Word planted, hidden, laid up, or treasured in the heart is strong and powerful, (Ps 119:11). When God says that His Word will not return to Him void, but will accomplish the work that He sent it out to accomplish, (Isaiah 55:11), I would think that means, like in my case, no matter how hard I tried to run away from it all, the Word called me back home – and it can, and will, call those you’re praying for back home.
Jesus reminds us to keep praying and not to give up. Oh, my heart, listen to those words and keep praying those prayers you pray while you sleep, eat, work, drive, cook, and even while you relax, just like someone prayed for us when we needed those prayers. Let’s all be reminded that we don’t have to see the inner change taking place for it to actually be happening.
One day, night, or morning, the Word will have accomplished its full work when that person you’re praying for, stops, turns to face Jesus, and says, “I’m ready to come home. You take over and be the Lord of my life.” When they do, it will be because it comes from inside them, not from outside forces; it’ll come from a deep desire for Jesus Himself.
And so I pray, “May the Word that is already in their hearts, stir within them, remind them of the complete love of Jesus, and draw them back home to Him. May they remember that they can come as they are, that forgiveness and acceptance are waiting for them with open arms; that God’s love will meet them wherever they are. May the planted Word that speaks of an incomprehensible grace be the light they need to find their way back home to Jesus!
Our God is a good Father, not willing that anyone should live this life without Him. I encourage you, as I encourage myself, to keep praying and to add faith to your prayers, as you remember God’s faithfulness to you – and that His powerful Word is already doing the work it was sent out to do. Amen.
For those of you who find yourselves in the position where I was years ago, (wanting to make the life change by reaching up for the hand that was offered to me to pull me out of the pit I had dug for myself,) know that what you are feeling is a beautiful, Godly sadness that millions have felt throughout the centuries. It is that calling to come home that echoes so deep inside you because it is linked to your purpose, to your very identity, and to the knowledge of eternity that is already within your heart, (Eccl 3:11).
That Godly sadness will point you home.
Ⓒ Debbie Mendoza, April 2022