Praying for Hardened Hearts

by Crystal Bowman

Vivian became a Christian when she attended a women’s conference with some friends who had invited her. She shared the news with her husband, Brian, when she returned home. He was less than enthused and said, “You can practice your religion outside of our home, but I don’t want to see any of that Jesus stuff in our house.”

Vivian respected her husband’s wishes and began her faith journey on her own. She faithfully attended church every Sunday while Brian went golfing with his buddies. She became active in women’s ministries and joined a Bible study group. When she came home one day with a workbook that had Knowing God on the cover in giant letters, Brian told her to keep it in a drawer.

One rainy Sunday, Brian was bored and went to church with Vivian. She wished he had stayed home. All he did during the service was criticize and complain. “The music’s too loud! The people are too emotional! The sermon’s too long!”

For week, months, and years, Vivian continued to grow in her love for the Lord, all the while praying for God to work in Brian’s cold, hardened heart. In 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV), the apostle Paul tells the church in Corinth, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” When hearts are hardened and people are closed to the gospel message, they put up a brick wall that only the Holy Spirit can penetrate. They believe Christians are foolish and delirious, and to them the gospel is nonsense. There is little we can say to get through to them, but like Vivian, we can pray for their lost souls.

Vivian didn’t nag or preach to Brian. She didn’t put a “Jesus Loves You” magnet on the refrigerator or a “God Bless This House” sign in her kitchen. She quietly lived out her faith, and Brian noticed the difference that knowing Jesus had made in her life.

In Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV), Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Eventually Brian began attending church more regularly and complained less. He even started singing with the worship team, and when he raised his hands during a praise song, Vivian knew the Holy Spirit was beginning to soften his heart. Vivian continued to pray for her husband for many more weeks, months, years, and decades. At the age of 80, Brian surrendered his life to the Lord. He accepted Jesus as his Savior and was baptized. He now believes the gospel message is truth rather than foolishness.

Most of us know someone who thinks the message of the cross is foolishness and may not be open to our preaching. But if, like Vivian, we let the light of Jesus shine in our lives and keep praying, the Holy Spirit can penetrate those brick walls and soften hardened hearts.

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Ephesians 5:8 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids.She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

When a child’s grandparent or great-grandparent is afflicted with dementia, it’s difficult to explain the disease in a way that helps the child understand why the person they love is not the same. I Love You to the Stars–When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembersis a picture book inspired by a true story to help young children understand that even though Grandma is acting differently, she still loves them–to the stars!

Join the conversation: Have you seen a hard heart finally reconciled to God? Please share your story to encourage those of us still praying for unbelieving family and friends.

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9 thoughts on “Praying for Hardened Hearts

      1. Hi Crystal,
        I saw the heading to today’s devotion and had time to click on it. So happy to know it was your article!!! Lane

        Like

    1. What an inspiring story. I’m still waiting on our God to draw my family, too. And I pray for them everyday. I no longer nagg or say anything about the Lord. Waiting for them to be drawn to Yeshua by the Father and the powerful Holy Spirit. I have more peace and am just asking the Lord to help me to be a light.

      Like

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