“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,“1 Peter 3:15
Christians confuse the unsaved
I heard a commentary recently that reminded me how confusing Christians are to unsaved people. We may look the same, work at the same places, eat the same food, drive the same cars, and go to the same grocery stores, but inside of us, we have abundant life; we are in Christ Jesus. So, it’s easy to forget that our words and actions often make no sense to the unsaved.
We don’t seek opportunities to get money by suing someone. We don’t revel in drunken wantonness on Friday nights. We don’t participate in family gossip. We practice random actions of kindness. We give our time and money to help people that will never be able to reciprocate our actions or even know us. We forgive; this is perhaps our single most confusing action to the unsaved. And we pray, but not in the way that the unsaved would pray.
We don’t pray like the unsaved
How can any unsaved person believe in prayer? They see Christians around the world suffering from persecution. Christians are murdered, stolen from, and pressed into forced labor. What good did their prayers do, the lost say? But they have unregenerate eyes. They are unable to see God’s hand.
For Christians, prayer isn’t intended to make us bulletproof. Our prayers are for the lost to be reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ and for the Bride of Christ to be obedient to the commands of Jesus. Yes, we pray for favor and protection, but we know that these prayers must always yield to the will of God. We don’t lose our faith when God says, “No.”
Pray for their eternity
Jesus flat out told us that we would be like sheep to the slaughter (Romans 8:36), and we see more of that now than ever in the history of Christianity. Our lives are transient; here today, gone tomorrow. We all have an expiration date. So Almighty God is focused on each person’s eternity. He loves us, so He blesses us, but His agenda is about moving history forward to the Day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:10) and not to lose any that are His (John 6:39).
So, the next time someone asks you to pray for them, let them know that you’ll first pray for their eternity and then pray for their need.
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