God is sovereign over all things. This is quite a statement. It is a biblical statement (Ps. 115.3, 135.6). We know that God has decreed whatever comes to pass to actually come to pass. He is in charge of everthing from molecules to miracles, his soveriegnty rules over all.
Part of this truth is the fact that God ordains the means to bring about his will. I have been reminded of this on multiple occassions recently.
In particular, an old acquantence reached out to me. He is the Dad of a childhood friend. His son and I used to hang out and do our best to get into trouble while in middle school. I remember one Sunday following a Saturday night where I spent the night at the their house I went to church with them. Growing up Roman Catholic this trip to a Charismatic Church was quite the experience. A big takeaway however, was how nice Mr and Mrs “B” were. Over 20 years later Mr B reached out to me via my Facebook page for Ordinary Pastor. He said that he was pleased to see that I was converted and serving the Lord in ministry. He remarked that he had been praying for me for over 20 years! He was overjoyed to hear of how the Lord answered his prayers. Think about that, 20-plus years of praying for a punk kid who was a bad influnece on his son. Now, he smiles at God’s providence. He rejoices in the end as well as the means. He prayed for my conversion and has seen this prayer answered.
I think of this guy’s faithfulness over these many years. In a microwave society he was slow roasting his prayers. This type of consistent, God-trusting, kingdom minded, hopeful, relentless praying is a sermon to me. We tend to grow weary, lose heart, and get discouraged. But consider Mr B shaking the trees in the Lord’s vineyard for fruit, continuing to come back the the Judge of all the earth, like the persistent widow (Lk 18:1-8) to plead for my soul. What thanks can I render to him?
Are you discouraged in prayer? Remember, God ordains the ends as well as the means. Go to him in prayer.
Are you discouraged by what seems like a slow answer? Let God be concerned with the timing of the prayers being answered you just worry about faithfully and persistently offering up the prayers.
Are you discouraged by what appears to be a lack of divine activity? Actively submit your heart and agenda to God’s heart and agenda. Remember it is his kingdom and his glory that our Lord taught us to pray for (Mt. 6:9ff). This type of praying by neccessity undermines my own kingdom advancement.
Consider the hopefulness as Mr B offered these prayers and the joy when he looks back at them. This is a tremendous blessing from God. On a personal note I have a towering reminder of faithfulness of a friend to motivate my own.
Let’s go ahead and pray today for that guy who appears to be “most likely to not become a Christian.” God may just use your prayers to wow you both.