While going through some old papers trying to get organized I found a dog-eared, highlighted wonderful article that I prayed over years ago. I'm so glad I found it again, because I really need it right now. The question in my title comes from Moishe Rosen's (founder of Jews for Jesus) opening paragraph. He wrote,
"I know that I'm a religious fanatic because if we are just meeting, I'll ask you: "Are all of your family members saved?" I am not asking to satisfy my curiosity. To me, the goal of this life is to be saved, sanctified and serving God.
The point of Moishe's article is to help us understand that when parents say things like, "My children professed Christ at an early age, but are not walking with the Lord," we need to stop, look, and listen! We may be grasping at strands of wishful thinking. The world, the flesh, and the devil conspire to keep us from praying at all or to pray amiss.
One way that people pray amiss is to ask that adult children come back to the Lord when they have shown no interest in Him since early childhood. Moishe's urgent advice is: Don't pray for them to come back to the Lord; pray for them to come to the Lord. You can't revive what is not alive.
I am dealing with this situation in my son's life right now. I must face reality and not hold onto the delusion that he is saved, but not walking. He has not shown any interest in Jesus since childhood and when we joined our present church in 2005 as a family, he refused to have any part of it. It's been years now since he has attended church.
What about your family members? Are you praying for them amiss like me? I've decided not to pray that way anymore. While walking in faith, I'm choosing to take the following steps when I pray for my lost loved ones:
Step #1. I'm praying that God will give me strength to endure and to undertake these prayers for lost loved ones as a regular burden.
Step #2. I'm giving my loved ones over to God, that God may speak to them in whatever way He chooses and in whatever circumstances it takes to bring them to Him.
Step #3. I'm choosing not to persuade them in my own power. It is not up to me to try to drive them towards repentance. I understand and acknowledge that they need the moving of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Step #4. I'm deciding to be clear about the term "Christian." A Christian is a follower of Christ, not someone who says, "I believe in God."
Step #5. I'm willing to repeat all of these steps until I see evidence of their salvation. I am trusting my loved ones to the Lord and am accepting His timing and His method of reaching them.
photo of "Salvation Mountain" courtesy of buzzymt, http://www.flickr.com/. Salvation Mountain is a completely man made mountain just outside of Niland, CA. It is made of adobe, tires, branches, hay, car windows, and thousands of gallons of paint. The artist is Leonard Knight.