Reading through the Bible together

Monday, May 12, 2014

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We all have loved ones whom we lift up to God in prayer. For years I prayed for the salvation of my closest family and friends every day. I wanted more than anything for them to embrace Jesus and then live with me on the New Earth. Some of these people accepted Jesus and flourished in their relationships with Him; others seemed to stick to their worldly path.

After some time, doubts set in about continuing to pray for them. I began to ask myself a question that you also may have wondered about: Is God not able to answer some prayers?

It’s interesting to note that God explicitly told Jeremiah in Chapter 11 not to waste any time praying for the Israelites. God said: “So do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble” (vs. 14, NKJV).

Why would God say such a thing? We can find God’s answer a few verses earlier: “They did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart” (vs. 8) and “They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words, and they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers.”

God’s chosen people, with full knowledge of His law and will, insisted on disobeying Him and following their evil desires. God could not force them to follow Him and, as such, could not work with them any further. So He told Jeremiah not to pray for them.

But God still had not given up on the Israelites — and He has not given up on our loved ones either. God told Jeremiah to tell the Israelites: “Obey My voice, and do according to all that I command you; so shall you be My people, and I will be your God” (vs. 4).

Prayer: “Dear God, I lift up before You today my dearest family and friends. Some of them may want nothing to do with You, and others may think they are in a saving relationship with You but they are not. Please hear my prayer to save them. Show me, like you showed Jeremiah, the role that I can play in their salvation. Amen.”

Andrew McChesney
Journalist in Russia.