A Prayer to Make Time for Others
By Ashley Moore
"Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." – Luke 15:7, ESV
A friend recently shared her desire to see her neighbor attend church. She was so passionate about this; she began to pursue an intentional relationship with the family. She relentlessly invited her and her kids to dinner, playdates at the park, and to hang out at the pool. They were at her daughter's birthday parties and other events at their house. Though it took time, she and her daughters started attending church regularly with my friend.
I was amazed at how my friend consistently and purposefully invited this family into her life and eventually into the gathering of God's people. Her actions reflected a facet of the gospel I must often be reminded of. We serve a God who pursues His lost sheep. He goes after the one. He is relentless in His pursuit. When that one lost sheep is found, heaven rejoices. This great phenomenon is because everyone who comes to know Christ and joins the eternal family is worth pursuing and celebrating.
- But do we always live as if God's lost sheep are worth pursuing?
- Do we rearrange our schedule to include time with someone who doesn't know Jesus?
- Do we pray for a list of lost friends and family?
- Or do we risk discomfort to invite someone outside of the family of God to join us for dinner or an evening Bible Study at church?
If I answer honestly, I don't always consider people worthy of making these sacrifices. I don't intentionally try to exclude people from my days; life just gets busy. We have grocery shopping to do. We have full-time jobs. And we need to spend quality time with our families when we’re done doing everything else on our plates.
I get it, and it's hard to manage everything. We are all busy and usually busy with good things. But maybe, like my friend who was following our even greater example, we can consider others worthy of our pursuit. What would it look like to chat on the phone with someone as you do your grocery shopping? Or add a list of names to pray over at your desk? Could you invite someone to join you for your family dinner once a month?
My friend's persistence may have meant a celebration in heaven or multiple instances of heaven rejoicing when her neighbor's children or future generations come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. May we all purposefully and joyfully consider what it could look like to pursue someone like our Savior who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to find the one who has lost their way.
Thank you for chasing us down when we were far from you! Thank you for putting us in people's hearts to pray for our salvation and spend time with us to show us how much you love and want to be with us forever. Lord, I pray you forgive us for not prioritizing the pursuit of those in need of the gospel with that same tenacity. Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours. Teach us how to pursue people even in the middle of our busy lives.
Lord, show us moments when we need to speak up, reach out, and open our lives to those around us. Lord, help us see people and love people as you do! And help us learn to pray for others as much as we pray for our own needs. Lord, send your lost sheep to intersect our lives. Give us eyes to see them and the courage to walk with them. Lord, help us to pursue them relentlessly. Help us to see how much you value them and to rejoice with heaven when they come to know You. Lord, thank You for allowing us to be a part of the process of people coming to know You and following You. Lord, that is so special. May we never take it for granted. We look forward to when we can all celebrate together in heaven with you forever! In Jesus' name, Amen.
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Ashley Moore is a writer and host of be the two™podcast. She is known for her relatability and for passionately writing and speaking about mental, emotional, and relational health from a biblical worldview. She has written for Kingdom Edge Magazine, Guideposts, Crosswalk, The Secret Place, enLIVEn, The Bubbling Brook and more. If Ashley isn’t writing, you can find her with her husband, three children, and two floppy-eared Goldens on their south Georgia farmland. The best way to connect with Ashley is to grab a free devotional or Bible study and join her newsletter at free.ashleynicolemoore.com.
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