By reading the title of this blog, you may be thinking that this is going to be some sappy love post about finding your soulmate. To your relief (or disappointment), this is not what I am referring to.
Have you ever met someone who desperately needs Jesus? Don’t get me wrong, everyone needs Jesus whether they know it or not. But maybe you know someone specific who is going through a tough time or perhaps has all this bottled-up potential and talent on the inside, and you know that if they would just surrender it all to Jesus, they would be better off. As a Christian, sometimes in these situations it may feel like you are surrounded by sick people and you are the only one holding the antidote that can cure them all. While there is some truth to this, I know firsthand that there is a difference between wanting the lost to find their savior and wanting to receive the credit for helping the lost find their savior. And if I’m being frank, there have been times where I wanted the title of “savior.”
For a couple of years, there was one person who would be at the top of my prayer list. I felt like God had given me a burden for them and a desire to spiritually intercede on their behalf. I even thought to myself, “Well if I don’t intercede for them, no one will.” What seemed like a noble thought at first quickly turned prideful as I began to assume that no one else was praying for them and that this burden was only mine to carry. At that point, I stopped caring if anyone else was praying for them because I wanted to see them return to Jesus thanks to my prayers. By the way, isn’t it just crazy how the devil can twist something good like praying for others into a personal weapon of destruction?
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
I fell hard. Turns out “the one” I had been focused on ended up rejecting my efforts. They pushed me away. I realized my obsession led me to miss out on opportunities to show the love of Christ to others who may have been more receptive. It was a much needed wake-up call though. As God helped me back onto my feet, I was reminded that Jesus was the one who died on the cross for everyone’s sins, not me. He is the way, the truth, and the life, not me. His name saves, not mine (John 3:16; John 14:6; Romans 10:9). It is not my job to save people; it is my job to point people to the one who does.
Now, I don’t regret praying or interceding for this person. God is not man who should lie and I believe the burden I felt was real. God is also faithful and I have faith that he heard my prayers and that this person will find their way back to Jesus.
So if you have that one person you always pray for, by all means keep praying. But don’t think it is your responsibility to force the sinner’s prayer out of them. If I’ve learned anything through this, it’s that salvation is a personal choice. You can’t buy it for someone and you can’t convince them. It’s an intimate conviction between that person and God. Release the stress, keep the faith, show love, and let God handle the rest.