“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
There have been certain prayers that I have prayed for years, and many of these prayers I continue to pray without seeing an answer. At times I have felt persistent, and other times tremendously discouraged. Does God hear? Will He ever move in response to these prayers? Will I ever see results and change? Still, the command remains to never stop praying, and I so I press on. I wonder if any of you feel that way. Is there a prayer that you have prayed for longer than you can remember, waiting in eager expectation for God to answer but find yourself still in the waiting?
For me, these ongoing, endless prayers are for my unsaved family members. I have prayed since I was a child and knew how to pray that all of my family would come to know Jesus. For years, I have shared my faith with them. From the young age of a child, I can remember sitting across the table from my grandfather, telling him all that my young years knew and understood about faith, pleading with him to believe. Into my teens, I continued those conversations, repeatedly pointing back to God’s Word as evidence to this unseen God. Into my twenties and now thirties, I have sat and listened and cried and boldly shared the hope of Jesus Christ with my brother, and still the waiting. For years, others in my family have also prayed for them. For years, we have waited. And in the waiting, I have found the hope to which I must cling.
The promise given to us in Isaiah 55:11 is that God’s Word will never return void. When it goes out, it will accomplish what He intended it to accomplish. My intentions aside; God’s intentions fulfilled. God has never, nor does it seem that He will anytime in the near future, work according to my timetable. And thank goodness, right? Because He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love to all who would call on His name, His patience in His dealings with us is astounding. His wrath had every right to consume every last one of us, but His patience bears with us one day at a time. That is also true of those whom we are praying for. Every time God’s Word has fallen on those lost ears, it has had a purposeful impact, whether we ever see the fruition of it or not. How do I know this to be true with such certainty? Because God’s Word never returns void. Every time you have shared the love of Jesus Christ with someone outside of faith, God’s Word accomplished the purpose that it set out to do in that interaction. Trust that. Find hope in that.
If your hope is dwindling, and you feel that you may never see that one you love so dearly embrace Jesus Christ as Lord, and if you are tempted to throw in the towel on prayer, and if you simply can no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel, remember this:
As long as there is breath in their lungs, there is hope for their soul.
God hasn’t given up on them, so why should you? Never stop praying. Never stop sharing. Never stop speaking truth. Never stop living redeemed. Because God’s Word is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, and it accomplishes absolutely EVERYTHING that it sets out to do. There is no match for the Word of God, not even the hardest of hearts or the unbelieving soul. Remain steadfast on your knees, standing in the gap for that one that is far from the heart of God. My hope is built on nothing less…