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We are all familiar with the passage that says anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But what about those we pray for who are not saved, and who really don’t even care about it?
Maybe they don’t believe in God, maybe they don’t care, or maybe they think they are already saved because people have taught them the popular lie that many Christians have been taught, which is the “Once saved, always saved” theology.
How often have you prayed for someone who is sinning and likes it? Have you prayed that famous prayer, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do?” Will that work? Personally, I doubt it. I have read the Bible many times and have experienced God’s blessings and also know what it is like to live outside of his Kippah (covering), which was for the first 40 years or so of my life.
In my opinion, God can do whatever he wants to do, but he doesn’t want to make us love him or to defy the free will he has given each one of us. That means if we pray for someone who doesn’t want to be saved, even when we invoke the name of Yeshua ha Maschiach, God will not force someone to be saved if they don’t want to be saved.
Another way to look at it is to ask, “Will God forgive an unrepentant sinner?” I think we can all agree that although God, in his mercy and compassion may give blessings to one who rejects him (Matthew 5:45 says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”), when it comes to forgiveness we must first do T’Shuvah (repent) in our hearts, then ask for forgiveness. When we do that, God will forgive. But if we do not repent, then he will not forgive.
I pray for my children and even for their mother (we divorced many years ago) because my children have been brought up by her to be ungodly (they’re not evil and horrid creatures, just like the rest of the world- ungodly) and I don’t know anyone who needs the love of the Lord more than that woman. So I pray, in Yeshua’s name, over and over, nearly every day, and I trust that God is doing something. But I also know that it is, ultimately, up to them to turn to God.
He may strike them down, humble them, and give them some real Tsouris to make them realize they are not really in control and force them to look up to him. But he will not change their minds or use his awesome power to force them to worship him. He will influence their lives, but not to the point where they are made to love or worship him. Not even to the point where they have to admit he really exists.
I am not saying God will never make a miraculous appearance; he has done things like this in the past- Abraham, Jonah, Gideon, the parents of Samson, and Shaul on the road to Damascus, just to name a few. But overall, I trust that God will do exactly what needs to be done to convince someone to trust in him, but only to the point where anything more would be effectively taking away their right to choose.
Where that fine line is drawn no one can tell, except God, and
Does this mean we should stop praying for those that reject God? Heavens no!! We should continue to pray for those that need to be shown the path to salvation. If we do not pray for them then who will? God will intervene in their life to help them come to know and accept him, and we also should do so by showing them a good example of what it means to worship God and demonstrate to them God’s blessings in our life for obeying him.
Through our prayers and our example people can be convinced to choose God, which is to choose life. God won’t force them to choose him, but he can be very, VERY convincing.
So, continue to pray for those that reject God and be an example of a godly person. Pray especially for those that think they are godly people because they have been taught that the Torah is only for Jews and they don’t need to obey any laws or commandments. They have been taught that they don’t need to obey anything in the Torah because are under the blood of Christ and saved by Grace. That is not true: by being told they don’t need to obey God or ask forgiveness because they are already saved, they are being taught to be unrepentant.
Be an example of an obedient, godly person, one who obeys from love and trust but not as a means of trying to earn salvation, and continue to pray for those that reject God.
Our prayers are powerful and useful to everyone, godly or ungodly