As I was praying through my list of family members who don’t know Jesus, I asked God if this exercise had any value. Most of these names have been on my list of many years with no change in their interest in Jesus, God or spirituality. With a vague sense of obedience, I keep contending for a relationship with God for them.
Two days later, I was having coffee with a Healing Rooms Team Intern who shared the story of his cousin. They had grown up as close as brother and sister. His family had a strong faith in God; her family had none. This cousin considered herself an Atheist. He remembered getting into a vocal discussion about this topic a few years back after a movie. College, travel, marriage and health issues has allowed several years to pass without connecting. Out of the blue, he received a text asking for a book recommendation on learning something about Jesus. He offered an N.T. Wright book suggestion and she read this and asked for another. He wondered what was up.
At a holiday event, he saw her and asked about the back story. She said she had been walking her baby daughter down a neighborhood street in a stroller and turned a corner and had an encounter with Jesus. She said she wasn’t sure what was going on. She felt His peace and love and presence so strongly that she realized she needed to learn more about this person of Jesus Christ. Despite her family’s surprise and dismay, she set a date to be baptized and invited my friend.
He said he had not prayed for her for along time. This happened out of the blue. I found this story so encouraging in light of the question I had asked God about my family members who still want nothing to do with God. The story gave new infusion to my prayer efforts. We never know how or when God will answer our prayers. I was reminded that He’s listening and acting on our prayers at the moment and over time. Long after we forgot we prayed something, He’s still answering our prayers. I was inspired to keep praying, believing that God is at work all the while.