why waste time praying? it doesn’t get things done. how can that situation or person change? it’s hopeless.
maybe you’ve heard these lines before. maybe you’ve believed them. i certainly have been discouraged by these lies. my young friend sergio has taught me better.
i met sergio over a year ago when he was 14. he gave his life to Jesus last winter and I had the privilege to mentor him for a couple months in the spring. when we first started meeting up, i remember he asked me how he could improve his prayer life. as a football athlete, sergio is a fairly disciplined person and even then he impressed me with his commitment to pray daily.
the first thing you’ll notice about sergio when you meet him is that he’s a big guy, but what you won’t notice until you get to know him more is that he has an even bigger heart. his heart is heavy for people.
throughout the course of our conversations he asked me to pray with him for a number of people. in tears, once he asked me to pray for his family that was going through rough times and specifically his brother-in-law who was being a destructive element in his family. on another occasion we prayed for his friend wilbur who he wanted to see experience the love of God and the church family. he also asked me to pray for a friend named eduardo, who is “a beast” when it comes to physical training for football. yet, another time he asked me to pray for his friend david who had quit the football team due to some disagreements.
we prayed. i’m sure sergio prayed more. we didn’t see change right away.
summer came and sergio became busy with other things in life. he asked to stop meeting up, which was a little disheartening for me, and I didn’t see him for a while. i prayed for sergio as often as I could remember. i saw him periodically throughout the fall through my work of directing tutoring for the sports teams at lincoln high school. another youth leader working as a coach opened up time for other football players and friends to meet up and discuss life. sergio began going to these informal meetings along with a number of other young men. a little over a month ago sergio started coming out again to youth group with about five other youth.
this past month Sergio rededicated his life to Jesus. he approached me soon afterward and told me about how much more joy he had in his life now that he’d come back to Jesus. the topic this past month for youth group has been prayer. i’m so encouraged by how sergio sets an example for his friends of entrusting one’s heart to God in prayer.
as we looked back, i realized every person i remember we had specifically prayed together for was positively impacted.
– his brother-in-law has a daughter with sergio’s sister and he is now contributing more to the family.
– his friend wilbur, that he wanted to invite to youth group, is attending regularly and sergio has asked me to join him in regularly praying for wilbur to experience God’s goodness.
– his friend eduardo also comes out to youth group now and is growing in prayer.
– his friend david even comes out to youth group too and is part of a loving community.
God works through prayer. if you don’t believe me, ask sergio.