I've been praying for my brothers' salvation for 47 years but now that they are in their seventies I'm getting serious. I read Dutch Sheets' book, How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones and it increased my faith to remember God does not want any to perish, His arm is not shortened that it cannot save, He loved the world so He gave His only Son to save us, He came to seek and to save the lost, His name means Savior. . .
I can pray with more conviction now.
But I'm also praying differently in another way. I've fused How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones with Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages. Instead of praying confrontationally, "Make them see the truth. Bring them to the end of themselves. Do whatever it takes--" I recognize that Tim and Ted have secret passages into their hearts which only the One who made them knows. I ask God to reach them through their love languages.
Dr. Gary Chapman says we each have a love language. We can be reached best through presents, presence, words, service or the other one I can never remember (must not be mine). I suspect there are many more than five.
Ted and Tim were both agnostics years ago. Ted still is. He hasn't budged an inch. He's a materialist. There's no life after this, not even consciousness and he's okay with that. He claims he has never in his life seen anything which could only be accounted for by the supernatural. I consider him an atheist. He says he could believe in any god but Jehovah. To him, Jehovah is "Hitler writ large," a big bully.
Yet Ted hungers for justice. He loves natural beauty and mathematical precision. And Ted has a fun side. He enjoys horsing around with his children (the latest batch, with his third wife, are Laria, 12 and Vyron, 9). He enjoys animals. He likes word play. He likes writing science fiction, almost always with a humorous twist or slant. He likes literature (which is why he's read it all), astronomy and physics and philosophy. And when we're talking about anything but God, Christianity, and the Bible, he and I get along fine. We get along fine then, too, if we're respectful.
Tim, on the other hand, has come a huge way over the past decade or two, so far that now he defends design to Ted, which drives Ted crazy. Tim says now that he sees it, design is everywhere; how could he have not seen it before! (He's still not sure what or who the designer might be.) He says Hebrew grace before meals and seems really open--but he has to be convinced in his own mind. He doesn't take into himself anything lightly but once he does, he's solid.
Tim loves languages and he likes trying to communicate with any children (not just his own) and animals and birds on their level. He doesn't embarrass. He isn't threatened by any concept or position. (Well, he's resistant to the Trinity.) He appreciates everyone. When someone asks him, "How are you?" he'll say modestly, "Better than I deserve."
Somewhere in each of them is at least one love language that is a royal pathway to the Creator who made them this way, in His own image.
Today I am thankful for health, even though we don't have it right now.