Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Deep Joy of 25 Years of Prayer

I came to know Jesus in October of 1986. A good friend of mine, more like a brother really, had suggested that I read 1 John because his brother-in-law encouraged him to read it, and he did. I read that powerful little letter a day or so later, and long story short, I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus. 

My friend Robert, on the other hand, continued in the path of drug abuse we'd been traveling since we were eleven years old. I shared the hope of Jesus with him at that time and he actually got baptized, but he didn't follow Christ and so I prayed for him, and prayed for him, and prayed for him. 

In the late 1990s, my wife and I were praying for him and the Lord gave her assurance that Robert would come to know Jesus. We believed the Lord's word to us but we kept praying because the years kept rolling by, that is, until Easter Sunday, 2011. 

I had just finished preaching and leading our Easter service, and was headed to the in-laws for Easter dinner. As we were stopped at a light, I received a text that read, "He is risen." When I noticed that it came from Robert, I started to cry. I couldn't believe my eyes. I said to my wife, "Kimmy, if this means what I think it means, I can die in peace because my life has been worth living." She understood. 

I drove as fast as I legally could, and when we reached our destination I gave him a call. "Robert, what happened?" He told me the story, and we cried and laughed and prayed together, and I went about my day in a kind of stunned joy that I find hard to explain. 

I had prayed for my dear friend for 25 years--25 years--and he had finally come to know the Lord of life. Some four years later, he's still walking with Jesus, in fact, I got to spend a day with him in early October and it was one of the most encouraging days of my life. 

Recently, Robert shared his testimony at his church. You can check out the video here. It's a bit long but it's worth watching. Some day Robert and I dream of sharing our stories together and inviting others to embrace Jesus. But for now, we give thanks to the Lord that we have become true brothers in Christ. 

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