Trusting God while praying for our unsaved loved ones can be a long process of waiting. My friend, Chaplain Bunny Yekzaman, has walked this road and knows the pain and the joy firsthand. She shares how she prayed in faith for her husband’s salvation for 20 years and the promises from God she stood on while she waited.
I also had the opportunity to chat with Bunny on an episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast about how to maintain hope while waiting for the salvation of a loved one. It was a wonderful, hope-filled conversation you won’t want to miss!
Trusting God While Praying for Lost Loved Ones
By Bunny Yekzaman
The Wait Isn’t Easy, But Can Be Peaceful
Waiting for a loved one to come to the Lord is often an extremely emotional and frustrating experience. You may feel like you want to just shake some sense into them, but of course you know that won’t work.
You cry and plead with God to please do something to get their attention. Then, the next thing you know, that loved one tells you they will never accept Christ. What comes next? Questioning God all over again?
This scene plays out all too often in the lives of those longing for a loved one to come to the Lord. I’ve been asked so many times how I stayed positive and hopeful when my husband was not a believer. The journey was not easy. I wasn’t always positive. There were many, many tears, prayers, questions and yes, lots of arguments.
Until… Until the Lord spoke to my heart in a very direct way.
After years of praying and asking God to save my husband, I was once again on my knees pleading with God to change his heart, to save his soul. In the midst of that prayer, I was suddenly moved by God speaking to my heart. It wasn’t an audible voice, but I heard Him none the less tell me to get up, look up, stop crying, and stop asking Him to save my husband.
This was strange to me. After all His word says, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, to pray without ceasing. So why would God tell me to stop?
Praying in faith for a loved one’s salvation is key
It’s simple, I was praying without faith. I was praying in doubt. And a prayer in doubt will never receive anything.
“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8
I thought I had been praying in faith, believing that God could save my husband. Alas, I believed He “could” not “would.” I was like the child who kept asking his mommy to go to the park. No matter how many times mom said yes, but later, the child continued to ask. Mom finally gets frustrated with the child and says, with a mom look, “If you ask me again, we are not going.” The child kept asking out of doubt that it was going to happen. Oh, he knew mom could take him to the park but didn’t really believe she “would” or didn’t get what he wanted when he wanted it.
Praying with the right motives
It’s easy to be that way with God as well. I believed He “could” but not that He “would”. Big difference. And on top of that, were my motives right? Was I praying for my husband out of fear for his soul being lost from God forever or was it to make my life easier? God tells us we also don’t receive because we ask with wrong motives in James 4:3.
So now God had my attention. I was to pray in faith and with the right motives. But He wasn’t finished with me yet. He now wanted me to thank Him for my husband’s salvation BEFORE I saw it. To pray BELIEVING God will do what He says He will do according to His will. To pray in faith.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
So, I could have confidence in God’s will for my husband’s salvation, but was it His will? According to 2 Peter 3:9 it is. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Praying for salvation is God’s will
God desires all to come to repentance so therefore, a salvation prayer is not only God’s will, but it is a prayer we can have perfect confidence in. A hope that does not disappoint.
But what if your loved one says they will never accept Christ? What then? Is your prayer for their salvation meaninglessness then? By no means. Remember God said He is patient as well. He has a plan. As the years past, I had to remain focused on God’s promise and His faithfulness. Because my husband didn’t surrender right away. I had to, and you must too, hold on to His words not the words of our lost loved ones. We must trust God’s word over theirs. “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” (Psalms 118:8).
Trusting God’s promises while waiting
Trusting God’s promises carried me through a very difficult journey but the waiting taught me that God was also working in my life to ready me for my husband’s salvation. To prepare me for whatever it would take for my husband to surrender. What if it would be something painful? Would I be able to handle it? Did I really want God to do whatever it would take? I had to learn to let go, to let God be in charge, to let Him do the convicting and to get out of His way. By trusting Him to change my husband’s heart and believing His salvation was promised, I could step away from playing the Christian and be the godly woman and wife I was meant to be…to love him without condition. No more trying to prove God to my husband. That was God’s job, He would prove Himself in His way and His time.
God taught me to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
That one moment with God in prayer, when He told me to stop asking and start thanking Him for my husband’s salvation, changed first me and around two years later changed my husband as well. He not only has given his life to Christ, which is a blog all its own, but he has committed his life to serving our Lord. Though he works full time for a school system where he is touching lives for Christ, he also went to seminary and now serves as the pastor for a nursing home where I work, and we lead Sunday morning services together.
Focusing on God’s promises will strengthen your faith, fill you with hope that doesn’t disappoint, equip you for the challenges, and bring forth joyful shouting of salvation.
“The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly” (Psalms 118:14-15).
If you are praying for a lost loved one, keep it up, but pray in faith, not doubt. Trust God’s desire and promises because “Not one word has failed of all His good promises” (1 Kings 8:56b).
No, it isn’t easy waiting for a loved one to come to the Lord, but we can have peace in it. Because we not only believe in God, but we believe God will carry out faithfully His every desire and promise. And that desire, my dear reader, is for your loved one’s salvation.
How can I be so sure? God’s Faithfulness to His word!
Here are some of the promises (and the ones throughout the blog) I focused on to keep my eyes on Jesus during my 20-year wait for my husband’s salvation and my continued waiting for other loved ones to still come to the Lord. I pray they will inspire and help you to pray believing, without any doubt, for the salvation of your lost loved ones. They will come to Christ.
Praying and believing with you.
Promises to stand on to help you to pray believing, without any doubt, for the salvation of your lost loved ones:
- “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
- “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
- “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
- “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
- “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
- “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
- “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).
- “Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Psalms 36:5).
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- “For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.’ And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:13-15).
- “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
About Bunny Yekzaman
Bunny Yekzaman is a child of the King, a wife of 42 years, mother of 4 & grandmother of 8. She is a disaster relief chaplain, and works as an Enrichment specialist for a nursing home. Her passion is sharing God’s love & truth with a faith in His faithfulness to His promises. She lives with hope for her lost family and friends and finds it her calling to pray in faith for them.