My husband first heard about Jesus through the kindness of the family of his high school girlfriend, Kim. Her father, Dick, spent time with Brad and gave him books, like Mere Christianity, to read. Her mother, Connie, made a booklet of simple recipes and regularly wrote Brad letters after he went to college in a distant state. One holiday weekend of Brad’s first year there, he returned home to disappointment and chaos. His girlfriend broke up with him, and his mother and step-father announced they were divorcing. He drove back to college alone on Thanksgiving Day. He began to read the Bible and the more he read, the more he believed. Brad’s brother, Dave, also became a Christian around that time. They were baptized on the same day in a chilly lake. Every time Brad tells this story, we marvel at the way God reached down into his life and claimed him, seemingly out of the blue.
After we had been married a few years, we got a call, seemingly out of the blue, from one of Brad’s uncles, whom he had never met. He said, “Hi, this is Uncle Bill. Aunt Marian and I would like to visit you when we are in town for the national firemen’s convention.” We invited them to dinner, but were not sure what to expect. We greeted them at the door when they arrived and, somehow, before they even crossed the threshold of our home, we knew they were followers of Jesus. Aunt Marian said, “When your mother and father divorced and you and your brothers were young, I began praying for you every day. I did that for fifteen years. What a joy to learn that you now belong to Jesus.”
Long ago a prophet named Elijah longed so passionately for people to return to following God, that he prayed that it wouldn’t rain. The rain stopped, and this eventually got the people’s attention. Then Elijah demonstrated in a dramatic contest that God was more present and powerful than the Baal-gods people had fallen into worshipping. Before even leaving the mountain where the contest happened, Elijah prayed with expectation that the drought would end.
Much later, an early church leader named James retold the story this way, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.”
Application: The prayer of an aunt living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Marian, for instance, human like us, prayed hard that her nephews would come to know Jesus. And God is answering. Weary friend, when you become aware of needs you cannot meet, pray! And keep praying. He is in control of the things we can’t control; and of the things we think we can control. Trust his power and his loving heart.
Who needs you to earnestly pray for them? What are their biggest needs? How can you remind yourself to pray for them regularly?
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis