I met a woman recently who told me that she prayed for her brother to be saved for fifty years. For most of that time, he showed little interest in spiritual things. But through an amazing series of events, he saw his need of Christ and embraced him as his Savior. For the last six years, he grew in his love for the Lord and he made his faith known to everyone. When he died in March, he died as a Christian, trusting in Christ to the very end.

Fifty years is a long time to pray. I'm sure the woman must have felt like giving up many times. Surely it sometimes seemed hopeless to her. But God granted her faith to pray on and not to lose heart. Eventually her prayers were answered with the miracle of her brother's conversion.

How happy she was when she told the story. And rightly so. Lest we miss it, let me make the theological point very clearly. Salvation is of the Lord, but that does not mean that our prayers do not matter. God has ordained both the means and the ends of salvation. Our prayers are part of God's plan to bring the lost to Christ.

Do you have a loved one who is far from the Lord? Does it seem totally impossible that he or she will ever change? Do you get angry thinking about their foolish choices? Do your prayers seem useless to you? Pay no attention to your feelings. There is more going on in the heart of your loved one that you can know.

Don't give up.
Keep on praying.
Keep believing.

You never know what God will do.

You can reach the author at  ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.