I sometimes get discouraged praying for people who seem to be moving away from God rather than closer to Him. I am familiar with the heart-hardening process Pharaoh went through in Exodus and Paul described in Romans—and I worry that they may pass a point of no return. And at that point, would there be any use in praying for them?
But whenever I fall into that kind of fatalistic thinking God is good to snap me out of it. Most recently, He used Psalm 33:13-15 to counter my discouragement and refresh my faith.
From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
I form the hearts of people, He said to me. I form their hearts, so can I not reform or transform them as needed?
I thought of some of the radical testimonies I’ve read and heard about people far from God whom He brought near. People like the former persecutor of Christians we read about in the Bible, Saul. But many, many others, including 21s century people I know personally.
Yes, Father, You certainly can. You do that all the time. You transformed my heart—You can do it for the folks I’m concerned about.
God then reminded me that the final chapters of the lives of people I’m praying for aren’t written yet. For some of them, their stories are just beginning.
He forms their hearts. And my prayers for them do matter.