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Hard Questions The Church Is Asking (1 of 7)

February 24, 2010

How come the person I’ve been praying to come close to God all these years still seems so far away from Him?

First, know that our primary responsibility is to witness to God’s grace and activity in us. Too often we believe that we are the ones responsible for converting people. We don’t convert people to Christianity; God does. But God, in His divine wisdom, has called us to join Him in this exciting, yet stressful endeavor. We share God’s work in our lives with people. We testify about our journey and God’s faithfulness along the way. We try to answer questions our friends and family have about God and faith. We are tools used by Him. We have a real part to play, but God brings about the change of heart.

Second, don’t assume that the people you are witnessing to and praying for aren’t responding at all. I am a very impatient person. If I were a farmer, I would stand in my field and yell at the seed to grow. God’s spirit works differently. God does work that we cannot see and people are responding in ways that we cannot always recognize. I am consistently amazed when people tell me about the “secret-to-me” growth they are experiencing (You would think I would learn!). Something might be happening that you cannot see. Maybe they are not fully aware of God’s work on their unbelieving heart. I have heard it said that people need to hear the gospel at least seven times before they respond.

Lastly, don’t quit. God hasn’t given up on them so you shouldn’t either. Talk with someone else about how you have be a stronger witness. Evangelism should never be done alone. It’s a comforting thing to know that you are praying hard for your friend. Maybe someone else could help you lead them to become a follower of Jesus. Seek a mature follower of Jesus to join you in praying for and leading your friend to Jesus (it’s a reason why we have small groups in the church).

Keep praying for God to work in their lives. Pray that God would continue to use you to speak the truth and to love them genuinely from the heart. Trust God in everything. Wait patiently. I know this – there is no formula. As you struggle through this you should also be aware that God is working on you too.

Have you tried taking them to Panera? It’s worth a shot, right? I have had some great conversations there!


February 24, 2010 - Posted by | Zach |

1 Comment »

  1. I’m up for Panera’s! Even though I am already a believer, I have lots of shortcomings I’d be willing to discuss if it involved going to Panera’s. (My vision of heaven looks a lot like a Panera’s except for no calories in the sticky buns!) ;-P
    But seriously – this could be one of the biggest issues that discourage long-term Christians. How can a person who has no family member praying for them accept Jesus, when someone I love and have prayed for won’t give me a chance to talk about it. And it is usually way more than just one person we care about who won’t trust our opinion of the best way to live.
    Zach is so right – DON’T QUIT praying and trying. And whatever you do, remain faithful in your own walk. If you ever decide you don’t to worship God because He hasn’t reached someone you love, it will “prove” to that person – in their own eyes – that they were right all along to not believe in God.

    Comment by Bobbie | February 26, 2010 | Reply

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