the challenge.

This time, it was 2 o’ clock in the morning.  But the culprit was still Isaiah 61. This time, verse one was my food of choice.  I’d been chewing on it all day, praying, seeking His glorious thoughts on what He desires of me in it.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners…”
(Isaiah 61:1)

I was still thinking about it, pondering it.  And I started to pray.  I started to pray wherever He led.  I thought about a dear friend moving cross country (back to us, YAY!) this fall and I began to pray.  I prayed for the friend with whom I hadn’t spoken with in a while but got the opportunity to do so today.  I prayed for his heart, his family, that Jesus would do His work and demonstrate His awe-striking glory.  I prayed for the family member who is atheist — severely atheist and the one whose theology I don’t fully understand.  I just prayed, for a few minutes or for an hour, who knows? I just knew that I was moved into prayer for each of them out of a genuine love and care for each individual.

And then. It was like a ton of bricks lay on my chest.  For their burdens and their hearts, yes.  But even more so because I was selective in prayer.  I held back in prayer over some (others. not mentioned.).  Not because I don’t love them the same way, but because my faith lacks. I lack.

I cannot believe it. His words are true once again…
Ye of little faith…” Yes. Minuscule Lord.

I wonder how many of us as believers do that.  We pray for the harlot and the drug addict, knowing that Jesus loves them and has already done above and beyond what it takes to win their hearts to Him forever.  But, do we pray for the man or the woman closest to us that quietly disdains the faith or perhaps lurks around in lukewarm waters? Do we believe God desires to save every soul we bring before Him in prayer? Do we believe He can?

I’m ashamed to admit I hadn’t.  Until today.

I once read a book written by a woman who’d been sexually abused by her father, while her family served overseas as missionaries.  Needless to say, she turned away from all things God and hated anything and everything regarding the Church or our faith.  She was rightfully hardened and everything about her exterior appearance declared so.  Her mouth and heart followed.  She often swore at Christians, hated them, hated God.  When she went to college, there was a small group of believers who were intent on revival and massive salvations across their campus.  God told them they lacked the faith for that kind of request.  They barely had enough for one soul.  So He challenged them to pray for the hardest soul they knew.  They person they felt could never be broken and least likely to give herself to the mighty savior Jesus. And so, they chose her.

To make the long [but beautiful, breathtaking] story short, she found forgiveness in the arms of Jesus and encountered Him as a Judge.  She ended up seeking her father out to offer forgiveness and to serve him in the act of washing his feet.

It is an unbelievable story.  And so. I have been challenged. I have chosen whom to pray for.  And I commit to doing so daily.

If you are a believer, I dare you too.  I challenge you.  We constantly cry out to God for revival, but can we stand in faith for just one? The hardest one.

PS. The transformed life of said author on campus was enough of a sign and a wonder to bring hundreds of others to the feet of Jesus.

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