I admit, my title is a little misleading. The “dead” I’m talking about praying for are not actual flatliners who fail to register brainwaves, pulse, or other vital signs. The “dead” I’m talking about are not even people who are still dead in their sins, ones who have never received forgiveness and spiritual rebirth.
The “dead” I’m talking about praying for are Christ followers who seem to have given up on life. Somewhere along the path they lost energy. They lost vision. They lost hope. They became disappointed, discouraged, disillusioned, defeated, or despairing. They pulled back from life, from people. They stopped using their gifts. They stopped dreaming.
They seem to me like walking dead. And I miss them. I miss the contributions they used to make, the life they used to bring, the God-given purpose they used to seek and strive for.
A few weeks ago when I was praying for a couple of these “dead” people, the image of Lazarus from John 11 came to mind. You don’t get much deader than Lazarus was. He’d been in the tomb for four days. Nobody was expecting him to come back. His friends and family had already done their praying, but Heaven seemed silent. So they moved into the next logical phase: grieving.
However, what they didn’t know was that despite the tomb, there was hope. Despite Jesus’s silence, God was still at work. In the darkness of that tomb, in the stench of death, life was about to return to a corpse. The Word of God that was present at creation was about to speak. And when that Voice, the Voice that has all authority in heaven and on earth, speaks—when He says “Dead man, come forth!”—the dead man will indeed come forth. Which is what Lazarus did, to everyone’s astonishment and joy.
It was heartening to me that the Spirit brought this passage to mind. It seemed to me that He was saying, “Don’t give them up for dead. Keep praying. Jesus can still call them forth. The Father can still resurrect them.”
So I did. I have been.
Jesus, You are the resurrection and the life. Breathe Your life these souls. Invigorate them by Your Spirit. Bring fresh wind, fresh fire, fresh everything to them so that they, like Lazarus, may come out of the darkness, blinking in the sunlight, to the astonishment of those who watchand to the glory of our Father in heaven.