I have recently been convicted about giving up on people. People who seem like “lost causes.” People who seem to have no purpose in life or have lost their way. People who are addicted to drugs, alcohol and porn. People who struggle with mental illness or who have experienced or caused wounds so deep that it would take a miracle for them lead a normal life again. Sometimes I feel like these people are too “far gone” to ever truly change for good. It can feel like they have travelled down the wrong path for so long that turning back seems like it would be impossible. But when these “lost causes” are your family or closest friends, the desperation of their situation literally hits close to home as tears are shed and sleepless nights are spent praying that they could just stop their destructive habits and ways.
The good news is that even though we may feel like giving up on these people, God never does. God is constantly trying to woo our hearts back to Him and no matter how far we stray, when we run to Him, He always welcomes us back with loving arms. God leaves the ninety-nine sheep for the one who has gone astray. (Matthew 18:12) God loves us deeply and intimately and can “sympathize with our weaknesses.” (Hebrews 4:15.) He is a loving Father who desperately wants us to give up our idols and sin and simply realize that He is all we truly need in this life.
I have actually learned to praise God for the “lost causes” in my life, because they keep me on my knees in prayer, and nothing honors God more than kneeling before Him and calling upon His power. As I bow down to God and ask for His help, He not only keeps me humble and truly dependent on Him, but He also moves heaven and earth to answer those prayers in accordance to His perfect will. He loves the people I am praying for even more than I do, and He reminds me that I, too, am capable of wandering off of His narrow path and in constant need of His grace, forgiveness and love. Sometimes as you kneel to pray, God is not only transforming the person’s heart who you are praying for, but also yours.
A powerful thought is that you might be the only person praying for that ”lost cause.” Pray like their life depends on it, because it just might. Pray specifically. Pray boldly. He hears and He moves for the “prayer of the righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) Prayer has the power to break chains, heal diseases, cure addictions, loosen shackles, change hearts and save souls. It might take time. It probably won’t happen overnight, but rest assured that God hears every one of your prayers and wants every single one of His children to be released from bondage and sin and to live in the freedom we have received because of Jesus’s death on the cross, for “It is for freedom that we are set free.” (Galatians 5:1) Because of His wounds on the cross, we can be healed.
Who in your life have you given up on? Who desperately needs your prayers? Call upon the Lord for “He is mighty to save.” (Zephaniah 3:17) He is “gracious and merciful.” (Joel 2:13) He cares for each one of His children and longs to “bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release the prisoners from darkness.” (Isaiah 61:1) Rely on his promises, pray in faith and watch God work.