I have unsaved family members. I assume you do as well. If you are like me, you have prayed for their salvation and have asked others to do the same. We think about them once in a while and pray for them as we shake our heads wondering why they just don’t get it.
Not long ago I was driving down the road, once again praying for my lost family, just nonchalantly mentioning their names to God and I felt myself being frustrated with him for not acting, not showing any movement in their lives at all. What is he waiting for? “Do a work in their heart and save them already!”
You may have learned this (I am often a slow learner), yelling at God to “Do something!” often has a way of backfiring on you. I remember the question coming back at me like a brick. “How serious are you? You barely bow your head as you ask me to move in the lives of the people you say you love. You spend more time and money on your own pleasures than on ministering to those you claim to love. You drink up the Living Waters greedily when those near you are dying of thirst. You say you love my Word, but have not yet put these Words of Life into the hands of those that are lost. YOU tell me to do something? How bad do you really want this?”
I cry even as I type these words. No, God did not speak these words to me, but he was certainly doing heart surgery on me at that moment. He was cutting me deep and it hurt. There is often pain in truth. What work have I done or sacrifices have I made to encourage my lost family toward Christ? Very little.
The apostle Paul was willing to give everything up to save those he loved, even his own salvation! He had “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” in his heart for them. “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsman according to the flesh.” – Romans 9:3. I am so far from this mindset it is sad.
Often times the work that needs to be done before God opens the heart of someone to believe is the work that needs completed in us. Sometimes God tarries in others so that he can teach and refine us first.
I have started to get serious about interceding for my unsaved family who currently stand condemned to Hell (John 3:18). No more sugar coating it. No more avoiding the uncomfortable. They are on the burn list.
My plan involves times of planned prayer, fasting and engaging in more direct conversations. If you want specifics, just ask and I will be glad to share. My husband and I have also committed to getting Bibles into the hands of our family and to provide guidance on how to read it.
You can be sure this involves loads of boldness on our part; am I nervous? Oh my yes, but this is part of the work in my heart that needs done. It goes along with the questions, “How serious are you? How badly do you want it?” To be sure, our wanting does not make it happen, it is only by God’s irresistible grace and his perfect calling, but I will do all I can to be usable by God in this area.
As Charles Spurgeon said, "If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”
If you have loved ones who are walking toward Hell and currently stand condemned, I enCOURAGE you to decide that now is the time to get serious and be bold, share Christ with them and pray for them like never before.