By Donna Shelton
I was backslidden for six years, and during part of that time I lived near the U of A… right across the street from a small church.
In the summer they kept their windows open so the swamp cooler could work, and I could hear the preacher raising his voice and speaking quite forcefully. I’m NEVER going to a church where the pastor yells at you, I told myself. And God laughed, and said, “Oh yeah? I think I’ll save you under Pastor Warner at The Door.”
Here’s God’s reaction to the people in Psalm 2:3 who said, “Let us break their chains and throw off their fetters.” It says: “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” God is talking about the nations here, but I think He sometimes laughs at us, too. Sometimes I think God likes to make us eat our foolish words.
In Jeremiah 49:19b, God says: “Who is like Me and who can challenge Me?”
So when your child says “I’m never going to _____” fill in the blank: serve God, go back to church, etc… Don’t fret too much. Just turn it over to the One who has promised, “My word shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
I’m not at all suggesting that we don’t fight for our children on our knees. We need to be like Epaphras, who Paul tells us in Colossians 4:12 “is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
Prayer is one weapon in our fight, and fasting is another. Isaiah tell us that fasting is “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.”
Our backslidden children are captives of the enemy and they are bound by yokes of sin, even if they appear by the world’s standards to be doing well. As it says in Lamentations 2:14, “My sins have been bound into a yoke.”
Did you raise your child in church, and since that time have they rejected the church and God? Do they have an attitude of rebellion against the Lord and against His anointed one? Be confident in God.
One of my favorite verses to remember when I pray for people is 1John 5:14: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
In his book With Christ in the School of Prayer, Andrew Murray said: “The power to believe a promise depends entirely on faith in the promiser. Trust in the person engenders trust in what he says.”
All too often we look at the circumstance, or what we perceive as our tiny faith instead of focusing on our Almighty God. When that happens, we need to get back in the Word, because “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Jesus promised us in John 14:13: “I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.”
Here we see God’s purpose in answering our prayers: so that Jesus would bring glory to the Father. What could bring more glory to God than to save a soul that is now in bondage to the enemy?
I like to start my prayer with praise and scriptures like Isaiah 59:1 that remind me what God has said of Himself. I rephrase it as: “Lord, I thank You that Your arm is not too short to save [insert the name of whoever you are praying for], nor is Your ear too dull to hear my prayer.”
Then pray some of God’s promises in your own words, or pray them verbatim out of your Bible. As you read, write down scripture that can apply to your son or daughter.
Remember that some of the promises made to Israel can also apply to us. Galatians 3:29 says, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
You are in covenant with God through the blood of Jesus. So in Isaiah 59:20-21, when God is speaking to “those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” I believe that the following promise is one I can claim, and I do.
Verse 21 says: “‘As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ says the Lord, ‘My Spirit who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,’ says the Lord.”
Remember, God never breaks a covenant. Never!
God loves us and He loves our children, and has wonderful plans for them.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
You may look at your children and think they are too far gone. But where there is breath, there is hope.
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?”
It’s almost like God is saying Get real, people! I’m God!
Read Jeremiah chapter 10 or Job chapter 38-39 to remind yourself what that means, that He is God Almighty! Then remember the words of Isaiah 64:4: “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God beside You, who acts on behalf of those who wait on Him.”
This is the mighty God who will act on your behalf.
When another person’s will is involved, it frequently takes some time, so we must wait on God, knowing that He is at work, and continue to believe that all things are possible with our God.
Pastor Garett King’s March 6th message “Messy Miracles” was interspersed with powerful testimonies given by people who were rescued by God’s grace from the very brink of disaster. You can order it online from the Tucson Media Library at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and will greatly encourage your heart.
God promises: “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed” (Isaiah 49:23), and “I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.” (Isaiah 49:25b).
Now pray with confidence, and wait for the promise!