A few years ago, my dad got a phone call. A guy who worked for him was contemplating suicide. This guy had left his house with a gun and nobody knew where he had gone.
As my dad and some other people went looking for this man, I found myself sitting on my front porch in the relatively quiet darkness. Sitting there that night, waiting for word from my dad, I prayed for that man. I prayed — pleading for God to save that man’s life, comfort him, and bring him to a saving knowledge of Christ. I prayed, until tears poured down my face, that this man would not die. I prayed and cried until I felt exhausted… then prayed some more.
That night, I learned what it meant to truly plead with God for a person’s life and soul. And God answered my prayers. They found the man and convinced him that suicide wasn’t the answer to his problems. I don’t know where that man is today, but I still pray for him every time this memory comes to mind. Not nearly as often as I should.
I tell you all of this because I’ve been really thinking about it a lot lately. The same questions keep coming to me. Why do we only pray for someone so passionately when we know that they might die soon? Why do we wait until the last minute, when time is surely running out, to become concerned about their life and eternity? Why don’t we pray now? be concerned now? Anyone can die at any time. We don’t always get a warning. So, why should we wait around for that warning that may never come? How are we going to pray for someone at the last minute if we don’t know when the last minute is?
My main question, I guess, is this: Why don’t we pray just as passionately every day for the people we know — or don’t know — instead of waiting until it might be too late? This question has been bothering me for a while now.
Shame on us for not shedding tears over people when our concern and prayers might actually work for their good! I think we like to pretend that there’s really no reason to worry. We don’t want to think about it. If we ignore a problem, we can act like it’s not really there at all. But it is there. Time is running out for all people. We should be praying now! Pleading now! Sobbing our hearts out before God now!
Why aren’t we?