“You are my hero, and I love you, but Dad you need to be saved.” When those words left my mouth the sense of fear evaporated and the peace of God surrounded me. I knew that I had been obedient to what God had called me to do, which was to lovingly, respectfully tell my Dad about Jesus. Even though that was the call, the words did not come easily from my mouth.
Many of you are in a similar situation of living with a lost parent or parents. My parents were those parents that encouraged me in my faith, but they wouldn’t go to church themselves. Some of you have parents who hate the church and everything about God. Some of your parents don’t seem to care one way or the other. No matter what the degree of tolerance your lost parents may possess, you must ask yourself “what does the Bible say about our God-given role as a child to lost parents?”
The command to pray for our parents is no where in Scripture; however, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are commanded to “pray without ceasing.” God honors our prayers, and God hears the prayers of His children and begins to move when we pray in His will. Scripture speaks repeatedly about God’s desire that all be saved; so, when you pray for the salvation of your parents, you can be sure that God will hear and work according to His will.
What should you pray?
Pray scripture for your parents. Here a few verses to get you started: John 3:3 (that they might be born again), 20:31 (that they might believe), 2 Corinthians 5:12-21 (that they might be reconciled to God), and Ephesians 2:10 (that God would extend His great mercy to make them alive in Christ). Salvation is of the Lord, and our prayers are where the battle will be won. John 16:23-24 teaches that we should ask in His name, or on His authority and we will receive that our joy may be full. So, pray without ceasing by His authority and believe; truly believe that your prayers are being heard and answered according to God’s good will.
As Christians living in a day and age where teenage rebellion is the cultural norm (teenage rebellion could more accurately be called sin), we should strive “to obey our parents in the Lord, for this is right (Ephesians 6:1).” Obedience to this one command will prove to be more effective in proclaiming the Gospel than one’s own voice.
When I started walking with the Lord at the age of 17, my life at home was drastically changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. I stopped lying to my parents. Before becoming a believer in the life and death of Christ, I had lied to them all of the time. My lies had led to major relationship problems, but, when I stopped lying, our relationship began to be healed.
In essence, my change in behavior with my parents was a testimony to what Christ had done in my life and allowed me to proclaim the Gospel to them through my obedience to God’s law. The path of obedience to our parents, and therefore God’s law, is the path we must walk in order to effectively share the Gospel because our actions represent our hearts and our hearts are meant to reflect our connection to Christ.
If you start obeying your parents but never tell them about Jesus then you will be known as a good kid but not a good Christian. The good kid is motivated by trying to please the parents or someone else, but a Christian’s motivation for being good is a desire to obey God out of love and awe for Him and His mercy.
God uses obedience to bring glory to Himself, so obedience opens the door for us to lovingly, respectfully, and truthfully show and tell our parents the entire Gospel (Ephesians 4:15).
At the age of 18, I shared the Gospel with my Dad for the first time. His response was, “If I died right now, I would go to Hell.” He is still unsaved but, since then, several spiritual conversations have taken place, he has read many books of the Bible, and God is working on his heart.
Pray, obey, speak, and be patient. Most of us had to hear the Gospel presentation several times before we were saved, and your parents are no different. As they watch and hear the Gospel in you, God will soften their hearts.
Don’t forget that, no matter what may happen or how long an event takes to occur, God is working for His Glory.
Originally Published 06.30.2005