Ezekiel 25:1-17, 29:1-16, 30:20-26; Jeremiah 37:1-38:28
King Zedekiah and the people of Judah paid no attention to the words of the Lord. Jeremiah had been telling them they needed to repent of their sins or disaster was coming. Nowhere do I read that Zedekiah repented but he sent a message to Jeremiah – “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.”
Zedekiah didn’t want to experience God’s wrath but he didn’t want to obey God, either. So he must have figured if Jeremiah prayed for them, God would listen and they’d escape the trouble ahead.
If you are a Christian I imagine you’ve had more than one person ask you to pray for them. When your unsaved friends face disease or financial hardships or broken relationships, do they come to you and ask you to go to God on their behalf? They may even say “Pray for me” with a chuckle, like you have direct access to a celestial genie who can twitch his nose and make everything better.
I’m not telling you not to pray. But may I caution you how to pray? Remember God is undoubtedly using this hardship in your friend’s life to draw that friend to Jesus because, obviously, he or she hasn’t gone to the Lord in good times. Rather than praying for healing or success or relief, maybe we should pray that the Holy Spirit will find fertile ground through this hardship and drive our friend to his knees in repentance.
The next time someone asks you to pray for them, I challenge you to let them know that, yes you will pray. But that you will pray that God will reveal himself through this challenge, that your friend will know the joy of sins forgiven, and that God’s will will be accomplished in the midst of the hardship. Let them know you will also pray that the disease will be healed or the money will come or emotional healing will occur if that is what God wants for them.
I do think we need to let our unsaved friends know how we are praying so that they will recognize God’s hand in their lives. Remember God wants to reveal himself to them and is working zealously for that to happen in every circumstance of life. If our friends come to us because they know we know God, let’s be sure to tell them how they can know him, too.
After all, that is the most important thing in life, more than health or wealth or a happy home.