"I am speaking the truth in Christ - I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit - that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh...Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved." - Romans 9:1-3; 10:1
Sunday mornings at Grace, a group of people gathers to pray before the morning lessons and activities begin. Several concerns are mentioned and prayed for, but every week - every week - there are prayers for the lost. The unsaved in our families, the unsaved in our community, the unsaved who persecute the church.
Some of those we pray for are far away. We've never met them. We have no faces to put with names.
Many of those we pray for are very near. They are our children, our spouses, our parents, our neighbors. We see them and interact with them every day. And every day - even as we delight in their presence and thank God for the many ways they enrich our lives - we long earnestly for them to know and love Christ. Our hearts are broken, because these people whom we love dearly do not know and trust in and cherish Jesus. Even while we live and laugh and love together, we do so with a weighty sense of the frailty of life, of the nearness of eternity, of the desperate need of these beloved souls, a need to which they themselves seem so oblivious.
But we gather again, Sunday morning, to pray. With great sorrow and unceasing anguish. Wishing that, if it were possible, we ourselves could be cut off, so that our children/spouses/parents could have life.
Our hearts' desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
We pray, and we grieve...and we hope. Because we know that God saves sinners. That His arm is not short. That a night of weeping for the lost could in a moment, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be turned into a morning of joy.
We pray, and we grieve, and we hope...and we look with tear filled eyes of faith toward the morning.
3 days ago