“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)
An older couple once told me of their prayers for their wayward son. Every day, before the husband left work, they stood in a specific place, held hands, and prayed for him. They did this for years, until one day he returned to faith in Jesus Christ. He eventually became a pastor and discipled me.
It can be easy to give up in prayer, even though Jesus urged us on more than one occasion to keep asking. Let’s face it, we may never know this side of heaven why God doesn’t choose to answer right away. But it’s right there in his word that he likes to set his own time schedule. Maybe, as a friend of mine once said, God just likes to hear us pray! Or maybe it’s for our sake – perhaps we need the transformation of heart and priorities that long term prayer brings about.
If there is someone in your life that you are concerned for spiritually, whether they have abandoned the faith or never truly embraced it, I encourage you to follow the example above. Pray for them daily. Form a habit by praying at a certain time of day, as this couple did, or create some other reminder. In any case, pray regularly and earnestly for them.
They need it. And apparently we do too.