This week, Pastor John hands
A Prayer for a Change of Heart
A little after 7:00 in the morning a few weeks ago my cell phone chimed that familiar high-pitched ding. It was an email from a gal in Women of the Word (WOW). “My husband at long last accepted the Lord. Praise be to Him for answering years of prayer. … Thank you, dear Lord, for moving him towards You.”
Tears of joy came as I thought back over the years and years I have watched this loving wife lift her husband up to the Lord, asking us, her sisters in Christ, to join her in praying. Yet I have to admit that some of my tears were for me—tears of renewed hope concerning my own yet to be answered prayers, as I was so poignantly reminded: Our God is a God who hears our prayers and touches hearts.
Over the years here at Northpoint, I have seen scores of women experience God’s amazing grace as they have prayed for the hearts of their husbands, their children, their friends, and loved ones. These prayers haven’t been just for salvation, but for repentance from wayward lives, for release from the despair of depression, for rescue from the clutches of addiction … basically for God’s light to pierce the darkness surrounding those we carry so close in our hearts.
Of all the prayers I have on my prayer list, it is these—the prayers for God to change someone’s heart—that I find I wrestle with most. Sometimes I think it’s because I’m impatient. We rarely can see what God is doing in these areas. There is no medical test to indicate if a hard heart is becoming tender. Wondering what God is doing can easily turn to doubting—is God doing anything? Will He—can He—change someone’s heart?
Next year in WOW we are going to be studying through a number of the Old Testament books of history, one of which is Ezra. In Ezra 1:1 (NLT) it says that the Lord stirred the heart of Cyrus. Cyrus was king over Persia where God’s people were suffering in exile. God stirred the heart of this pagan ruler to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. Cyrus even ordered his people to aid the exiles by contributing gold, silver, livestock, and supplies for the journey. Cyrus himself returned all the items taken from the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem when it was defeated by King Nebuchadnezzar, and gave many valuable gifts and offerings of his own for the rebuilding of the temple.
What a powerful reminder of what our God can do in the darkest of hearts!
When the exiles returned to Jerusalem and laid the foundations of the temple, all the people gathered, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,
For he is good,
For his steadfast love endures forever.
While we can’t presume to know what God will do in every situation, we know it will come from His good and loving heart that knows no limit or end. So let’s keep praying and may God stir our hearts as well as the hearts of those we love dearly for His glory.
Serving Him together,