Jeremiah 33:2, 3; Luke 18:1
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Above is a photo of George Muller (1805-1898), a German-born evangelist who was persistent in prayer. He was the director of the Ashley Down Orphanage in Bristol England; for which he prayed in thousands upon thousands of pounds/dollars in donations, caring for over 10,000 orphans in his lifetime, and establishing 117 schools for the Christians education of more than 120,000 people! But this Gem is not about his amazing life caring for orphans or other grand accomplishments for God. This is about him praying for five friends.
Here is an excerpt from the website, GorgeMuller.org:
In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without a single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land, on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the sec- ond was converted. I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day, I continued to pray for them, and six years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the three, and went on praying for the other two. These two remained unconverted. Thirty-six years later he wrote that the other two, sons of one of Mueller’s friends, were still not converted. He wrote, “But I hope in God, I pray on, and look for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be.” In 1897, fifty-two years after he began to pray daily, without interruption, for these two men, they were finally converted...!
Two selections, one from the Old Testament and the other from the New, compose our featured Scripture:
- Jeremiah 33:2 and 3 (International Standard Version) – “This is what the LORD says who made the earth, the LORD who formed it in order to establish it — whose name is the LORD — ‘Call to Me and I’ll answer you, and will tell you about great and hidden things that you don’t know.’ ”
- Luke 18:1 – Jesus “…spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not to lose heart.”
I share all this with you because of God’s graciousness to me: A dear friend put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior after I prayed for him for 55 years! No, I do not think I am in the same category of a prayer warrior as was George Muller. But God is faithful, and used my prayers in this friend’s salvation!
I became a Christian when I was 19 and in the Air Force. A friend had converted to be a Roman Catholic, and I wondered why. He shared his experience with me, and since I had no strong Christian influence in my upbringing, I decided to become a Roman Catholic! But as I studied the Catholic faith, I also was reading my New Testament the Air Force had issued me. As I read, I ran into questions comcering Catholic teaching, and no one in authority satisfactorily answered my questions. I continued in practicing the Catholic faith until I met my Baptist wife! Baptist teaching better addressed my concerns, and so I have been a Baptist for 53 years, and a Baptist pastor for almost 50!
But my conversion to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ happened soon after I started studying Catholicism. I did not know much of what the Bible teaches about God’s Son, but I discovered three things:
- Jesus is real!
- Jesus is alive!
- Jesus loves me!
…and I fell ‘head over heels’ in love with Him!
All this to say, I started praying for my friend, and have kept it up almost daily ever since!
I also talked to him about Jesus, and sent him some books. But he wrote me some years ago, telling me he had his own religion (a mix of eastern religion), and he asked me not to share Christ with him anymore – it would destroy our relationship! I said I would not share anymore, but I kept on praying!
My friend, four years older than I, came down with cancer. I broke my ‘promise’ and wrote him a letter telling him of my love for him, and that I wanted him in heaven with me. Because of this, I shared again about the Lord Jesus, and why and how he should ask Him to be his Savior! I wrote, “It does not have to be a fancy prayer, just sincerely ask Him to come into your life and heart, cleanse you of all sin, and be your Savior.”
He called me a few days later. He said, “I have made a decision. I am going to accept Jesus as my Savior!” This was just over a year ago, and I have been praising God ever since!
- Jesus said in Luke 18:1 – “…men always ought to pray and not to lose heart.” He then followed with the parable of the persistent woman and the corrupt judge – The woman finally got the judge’s decision in her favor because she kept ‘bothering’ him with her problem! (see Luke 18:1-6). We are never a ‘bother’ to God! The Lord followed His parable with these comments:
“And shall not God avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.”
Continue to beseech our Heavenly Father! His ‘speedily’ may not be according to your timing, but He will never leave you forsaken! (see Hebrews 13:5).
- Jeremiah 33:3 is often called “God’s phone number” – based on the phone numbers that were current back around 1950. But you don’t need a special phone or a special number to contact God! Just “Call to Me and I’ll answer you, and will tell you about great and hidden things that you don’t know.” Hidden things…who can truly understand God’s miraculous salvation?
✡ The Jews didn’t understand! (see Romans 10:1-4). ✞ The angels can’t totally comprehend! (see I Peter 1:12 – Good News Bible).
But you (and I) can call upon God and He promises to answer! And if His salvation is hidden to some, it is open to you and me, for according to Romans 10:9 and 13:
...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved....For whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
So pray…for your own salvation and needs, and for your friends and loved ones! God will bring them unto Himself, even if it takes 50 or more years!