The worst person you are hearing about?
Are you praying for them?
Once, the worst person at that time became angry and murderous. But he also was very religious, very well educated, and he strongly influenced other people — what a contrast. The Bible does not tell us that anyone was praying for him to change, but Saul did make a huge change in his life, an amazing change in his vocation.
The mob scene is described in Acts 7, where people in Jerusalem screamed at Stephen and then stoned him. Stephen had called the crowd “stubborn people” who were “heathen at heart and deaf to the truth.” These were the elders, the teachers of religious law, scribes, Pharisees. Saul was there.
In Acts 8, Saul, too, agreed to the killing of Stephen, then he went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.
Soon, an unbelievable thing happened, described in Acts 9. Saul, “uttering threats with every breath and eager to kill the Lord’s followers” had an encounter with Jesus. From that time on, he became a totally changed person, responding to the love of God, then going and preaching the Gospel.
In Acts 13:9, Saul (his Hebrew name), later became known as Paul (his Roman name).
Jesus did admonish his listeners to “pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Can we expand on that directive to pray for people who perhaps are not personally or verbally or physically attacking us? Should we pray for people in high offices of state or nation? May we intercede for those who are so wrong, so lost, so influential?
Are we trying to change God’s mind when we pray? No, He loves sinners. Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). When we pray for the conversion of the worst person we know about we are agreeing with the LORD.
Things may get better, or they might get worse. Things may get worse before they get better.
All throughout the Bible we see this happen. This does not discourage the praying person. When we pray we draw closer to the LORD, and in this place He can encourage and strengthen us.
Look at it this way. The worst person you know, the worst person you are hearing about has labeled themselves for prayer.
That person who says and does awful things, who leads the nation — or the company, or the gang — into wickedness, or subjugation or influences others into lawlessness needs a total conversion.
What a challenge that is to all believers. Perhaps you hear God calling YOU to less pointless complaining, and to more pointed praying. Continue to pray for yourself to see clearly without confusion, and pray to encourage others to stand strong against falsehood and failure.
It is time to trust,
and PRAY.+ + +
by Elaine Hardt ©2012