There is someone I have known and prayed for their salvation for many years, and after years of invested prayer on their behalf, the only response I have seen is their continual pushing away of people who try to come close and show they care. The best way to describe this person is to think of a prickly cactus or porcupine, definitely someone that doesn’t welcome a caring hug.
Recently, as I prayed for this lost person, I asked God again to do a work in his heart to convict him of his need for Christ. I immediately experienced God doing a convicting work in my heart to demonstrate love to this person in a way I had not done before. I realized that God wanted me to show this person the same amazing love He has shown me, and if he visibly saw God’s love in me, maybe he would see it is the same amazing love God also has for him.
I have been making that effort and reaching out in ways I did not practice before now. I have not noticed any change yet, but I believe God is doing a work I cannot see. The results are not up to me, but obedience to follow God’s leading in my life is up to me. God continues to remind me to pray for this person and to demonstrate the amazing love of Jesus Christ.
I have seen God’s love break the barriers people have put around their hearts and penetrate the walls, the cactus prickles, and porcupine quills they use to protect themselves. Maybe, day by day as I continue to be loving towards this hard to love person, the barrier will begin to crack and crumble - and the heart will be softened, and will slowly open to receive God’s amazing love and grace. For this I will continue to pray.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.