Praying for the Lost
Tara Edelschick was brought up as the daughter of a secular Jew and a lapsed Lutheran. She learned to be fairly self-sufficient, went to a great college, and married a super guy. “Weaker souls might need a god,” she thought at the time, “but I needed no such crutch.”
That self-confidence was obliterated when her husband of five years, Scott, died from complications during a routine surgery. Ten days later, she delivered her first child, Sarah, stillborn.
Life for this self-confident agnostic woman who didn’t need God suddenly took a tragic turn, blindsiding the unsuspecting young woman.
Within one year after her double tragedy, Tara had become a Christian. How did this happen?
Nothing miraculous happened–no defining moments, blinding visions, or irrefutable arguments. But slowly, imperceptibly at first, she was drawn into a life of faith.
From Tara’s perspective, what happened was that friends witnessed to her. One friend, in particular, got her reading the Word.
A man named Tony introduced Tara to the Gospel of John. Each Saturday morning over the phone, they would read a portion of scripture and talk.
Tony was the only Christian she knew who didn’t try to explain away the loss of her husband and baby.
On the surface, the story seems simple enough with minimal complications.
But this is where the story gets good. Tara’s little family was living in New Jersey when her husband and baby died.
Tara writes in an article from Christianity Today: “A woman in Massachusetts named Liz stood up at her church for several weeks on end and asked people to pray for me.”
Liz lived with her friend Ora, and Ora had told her about me.
In that Massachusetts church was a man named Jeff. Jeff joined Liz and Ora in praying that “God would take care of my body and heart.”
Tara knew nothing about this.
Liz, the praying friend of Ora, moved away to England. Then one day, Liz contacted Ora several years later to ask how her friend Tara was doing.
Ora was delighted to be able to say that Tara had become a Christian, was doing great, and had met a nice guy named Jeff, a chaplain at Harvard, and they had married.
Liz said, “Jeff Barneson?”
He was the man in Liz’s church who had joined them in praying for Tara all those years back.
Jeff had been praying for Tara years before they would meet.
Tara goes on with her story….
“One afternoon six years ago, after I finished telling this story to my friend Kathy (a member of Tara’s prayer group–Joe), she said, ‘So was I!’
Tara said, “You were what?”
I was praying for you, too. Liz was in my prayer group. She came to our group so distraught by your story that she asked us to pray for you. We prayed for weeks, and then I forgot about that story.
When I met you, it never occurred to me that you were the same woman. In fact, Jean and Julie would have been there at church as well, so they were also praying for you back then.”
When we get to heaven, I’m convinced that people will be coming up to thank you for praying for them.
Let’s not lose heart! Keep praying for lost people, and never give up! We will never know this side of heaven how many people we may have prayed for who are in heaven!